Kidnapping victim credits friend with saving her life - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

ONLY ON 3

Kidnapping victim credits friend with saving her life

Posted: Updated:
WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -

Channel 3 is hearing from the woman kidnapped and taken along during a police chase through Chattanooga Thursday morning. 

"The whole time in the car, I was just screaming for him to stop or at least let me out, but he just wouldn't," Jenifer Gill said. 

Gill was inside the red truck as it led police on a chase up Highway 58. Behind the wheel sat her ex-boyfriend, Derrick Steele, 32.

"I thought that we were going to wreck. There were guns drawn on us. I was ducking down. I mean, they said had I not been in the car, I would have shot at it," Gill said.

The chase ended 20 minutes later on Hickory Valley Road.

READ MORE | FIRST ON 3: GA kidnapping suspect in custody following police chase

But police say the chain of events started nearly 12 hours earlier in Walker County when Steele found her staying a friend's home on Garrett Chapel Road. 

Ashley Phillips says she was giving Gill a safe place to stay after she broke up with Steele.

"He was very, very mentally abusive toward her and physically abusive. And when it started getting physically abusive, that's when she got out," Phillips added. 

Police say Steele used a cell phone to lure Gill into his truck before he took off. 

Phillips remembered hearing her friend screaming for help as he drove away. 

"I felt like, Oh my gosh. I brought her here and now she's gone. He came and got her and how she's gone and I can't get her back. I let my Dad drive the car to work so I couldn't even go after him. I felt so helpless. So helpless," she added. 

Gill believes Phillips' call to 911 likely saved her life because even though she wasn't hurt physically, this story could have had a different ending. 

"We see so many cases like this that don't end this good. I'm just thankful that we were able to get to her and hopefully protect her and hopefully get her in the direction that she needs to go," Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said. 

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help.

RESOURCES FOR HELP AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: 

  • The free Tennessee hotline is 800-356-6767 or click HERE
  • The free Georgia hotline is 800-33-HAVEN or click HERE

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

Powered by Frankly