Details released in Thursday’s I-75 carjacking
Two women and a child were in a car and a woman was assaulted. She was then forced to drive around the man that carjacked them.
WINK News went to the victim’s home today and attempted to talk to Milagros Chirinos. She didn’t want to go on camera. She just recalls “they were trying to kidnap me.”
Now, other drivers are on edge and paying attention to their surroundings with the suspect still on the run.
A report from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office laid out the timeline of events for the carjacking.
Deputies say the two women in the car were heading north on I-75, towards Orlando. However, they got stuck in traffic due to a car fire.
Milagro Chirinos’ granddaughter was crying in the backseat of the car, so they pulled over. That is when the women say a man wearing a white tank top and black shorts got into the back seat of the car and yelled “let’s go!” Her child was also still in the back seat.
Rich Kolko is WINK News’ Safety and Security Specialist. “They just want the car. They don’t want you. They don’t want a hostage. They don’t want extra people. They’re not looking for that confrontation with the driver or any passengers in the car. So, the best thing you can do, get out of the car, let them have it,” said Kolko.
Chirinos told deputies that the man who jumped into her back seat appeared to be intoxicated. At one point, the man yelled at her to drive and hit her on her left shoulder.
She began driving north on I-75 until the suspect looked at his GPS and told her to pull over. She stopped at Gulf Coast Town Center and he got out of the vehicle.
Some shoppers believed Gulf Coast Town Center was the perfect place for him to stop. Gina Tran was shopping at GCTC. “That’s the next best move… to be in a public place so, hopefully, she and the baby wouldn’t get hurt,” said Tran.
Other parents said that they understand if the mother was distracted with her child. However, they think, the best thing to do would have been to get out of the car with her baby, first. Rhona H. is from Fort Myers. “I wouldn’t get out without the baby in my arms… because you could get out, they lock the doors and they’re gone,” said Rhona.
Alyssa H. says let them take the car. “If they want the car, take it. I mean, she’s (her daughter) more important than anything else,” said Alyssa.
Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko agrees that that is the best course of action. “There’s no reason to put your life and, even more importantly, a child’s life at risk over a vehicle,” Kolko said.
Deputies arrived on scene, did interviews with the two women, and a Crime Scene Investigation unit came to process the car.
The LCSO report said the suspect ran away before Lee County Sheriff’s deputies arrived. WINK News asked to sheriff’s office if they had any leads but no one responded to our inquiry.
WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko also says people should pay close attention to their surroundings. Keeping your doors locked even when you are inside the car is also a good habit to have.