It is said that the red light at a traffic signal lasts between 1.5 to 2 minutes, which is approximately 120 seconds. While this may not seem like a long time, a lot can happen within 2 minutes. And a lot certainly did happen when two teenagers, who were on their way to pick up a friend, spotted a beautiful girl in the back seat of a car. Neither of them anticipated their day to take such a drastic turn with the series of events that followed next.
This story began in Dallas, Texas where two friends named, Aaron Arias, who is nineteen, and Jamal Harris, seventeen, experience a life-changing incident together. Aaron and Jamal have been friends for years now. They have been studying in the same school since junior high and were pretty close to each other. They had a regular life like any other teenager until that one unfortunate day.
Love For Cars
Apart from school Aaron and Jamal shared one thing they were both passionate about, and that was automotive, they loved cars and knew everything about them. Aaron had just passed his driving test and took Jamal out for drives every chance they got. It was one of their favorite things to do.
Helping Out A Friend
It was a cloudless Saturday morning, Jamal was just finishing up breakfast when he received a text from Aaron asking Jamal to accompany him on a drive to pick up their friend stuck at work. Aaron told him he will come over to pick him up in half an hour.
Ready To Roll
One essential for any drive was good music. Jamal was more of a rock n roll lover while Aaron loved the pop charts, but somehow they made it work. Jamal was busy picking out music for the drive when he heard a honk outside his front door. He dashed outside to find Aaron waiting for him. He jumped in the front seat and pretty soon they were on the road.
Driving In Texas
It is said that driving in Texas is a way of life. If the destination is within the lines, people are driving to it. People barely use public transportation here. This also means that roads are mostly jammed with personal vehicles. To control this traffic, there are endless signals spread across the city. So before they know it, the boys come to a stop at a red light.
The Red Light
Aaron was tapping his fingers on the wheel, humming along to the tunes Jamal picked out. Jamal, on the other hand, was busy noticing the blonde in a black car next to theirs. She was dressed in a pretty dress, some minimal jewelry, her golden hair fell in ringlets on her shoulder. She was beautiful, no doubt, but there was something off about her.
Jamal noticed the driver in the front seat. He was black, had cropped hair, almost like a buzz cut. He wasn’t dressed in a uniform though. He turned around to look at the blonde and the blonde immediately looked away, her gaze set downwards into her lap. Jamal found this little interaction kind of odd but he didn’t think too much about it.
Jamal noticed the girl looking at him from the corner of her eyes. She looked anxious. He sensed her discomfort and looked away assuming it was his gaze which made her uncomfortable. The driver turned around and looked at him and Aaron and then the blonde. Their eyes met briefly and she immediately looked away from the driver again. Jamal frowned, something weird is going on here.
Jamal’s eyes landed on the girl again and this time she was looking directly at him, except he could read something in her eyes. If he wasn’t mistaken, she had fear in her eyes. Jamal frowned in confusion. He looked at Aaron who was completely oblivious of the whole thing. Jamal wondered if he is looking too much into this?
Time To Move
Before Jamal could say anything to Aaron, the light went green and the driver stepped on the accelerator and drove away, the car disappearing out of sight. Jamal was getting troubling thoughts now, if he wasn’t mistaken, something seems to bother the woman in that car but he couldn’t figure out what it was.
What Could It Be?
Jamal’s head kept throwing ideas at him about what possible reason could it be for the girl to be anxious or sad or whatever he couldn’t read on her face. Maybe she was on her way to the hospital, to see a relative who was injured. Or maybe she was nervous about a job interview. But why was the driver looking at her weirdly? None of it made any sense.
Spotting The Car
A few miles down the road, Jamal spotted the car again. He couldn’t make out much of what is happening from behind but the blonde was looking around from the window, the driver was still racing like his life depends on it. Another red light, coincidentally made them wait next to each other again. This time Jamal asked Aaron to look.
Check Out The Blonde
Aaron assumed Jamal is talking about how pretty the girl is, so he didn’t notice anything else. Jamal thought he is probably overthinking all of this and there is nothing to look into. Jamal noticed a gaze on him, it was the girl again. He maintained eye contact trying to read her face. He noticed her lips moving slowly. She was trying to say something to him.
Jamal concentrated hard to understand her, and her lips were trembling trying to mouth something to him. And once it clicked what she was mouthing to him, Jamal’s eyes widened. She was mouthing “H-E-L-P M-E” Jamal immediately turned to Aaron and told him about it. He told Jamal to quit joking around. Jamal swore he is not joking but before Aaron could see it for himself, the car drove off again.
Follow That Car
Jamal told Aaron to follow the car as he dialed 911 from his phone. Aaron was still not convinced but he followed Jamal’s instructions anyway. The operator answered the call, “911, what’s your emergency?” Jamal responded with, “Yes, I’m on the highway… I’m witnessing a robbery. No, not a robbery, a kidnapping”
The boys told the operator they were on highway 175 currently following the car. The operator asked them to elaborate on what they saw and how were they sure that it might be a kidnapping. Aaron responded, “We looked at the back seat and the blonde female was saying ‘help me!’ or something, whispering it”.
Losing The Car
The boys were right behind the car when they reached a busy road, and before they could tell, the car disappeared into one of the lanes next to the main road. Aaron started panicking now, he didn’t want to lose them, they only have one shot at saving her.
The Gut Feeling
The boys were confused but a decision had to be made and that too quickly, otherwise they will lose him for good. Aaron just went with his gut instinct and drove into the alley next to the main road. It was weirdly empty at this time of the day but that also acted as an advantage to speed up and find the guy.
We Meet Again
After driving endlessly for a few minutes, Jamal spotted the black car a few miles ahead of them getting back on the highway. Aaron jumped on the gas pedal and their car roared forward. They were back at it again, chasing the guy down the streets of Texas.
The boys were busy talking to the operator when they noticed the car slowing down slightly, and then speeding off instantly. Aaron pressed down on the accelerator and raced behind him. The car’s headlights were turned on and off repeatedly. Jamal and Aaron exchanged a knowing look. The driver knew he is being followed.
Trying To Hurt Her
The boys were afraid, now that he is aware of being followed, he might hurt the girl, or hurt them or kill all of them. They could see the girl banging her hand on the back windshield trying to catch their attention. They had to save her from whatever this terrible situation is.
Even though the driver was trying to intimidate them, the boys remained focussed. They continued following him while staying connected on the call. He was driving crazily now, turning his car, changing lanes abruptly, doing everything to lose them. But Aaron was right on his tail.
The operator on the call asked the boys to turn on the hazard lights of their car so that the nearest patrol car would spot them and intervene immediately. The boys did as told, turned on the hazard lights and kept following him. They were hoping to find a patrol car at any moment, the operator told them to stay connected no matter what.
Chase Down The Culprit
Before they knew it, the boys heard the police sirens coming from behind them. They both let out a sigh of relief, now that the cops were here, there was no way he is going to escape. Aaron saw the police cars taking over them and chasing the black car now, getting the driver to stop. They kept driving, still connected on call.
Catching The Man
At the end of the road, Aaron could spot a bunch of cop cars waiting for them. The driver had no choice but to stop his car. The police went down and pulled him out of the car putting him in handcuffs. The boys were thrilled they caught the man. The cops opened the back door and let the blonde out of the car. She was crying and trembling with fear.
Heroes Without Capes
As soon as she spotted the boys, she ran over to them and hugged them. She thanked them sincerely for saving her life. Jamal didn’t think they deserved her gratitude but it was humbling to receive it. The cops applauded the boys and praised them for their bravery and sharp instincts.
The victim was then examined by the paramedics for injuries, she had a severe head injury where she was hit by something distinctly. The bruise from the injury was hidden behind her hair, which explains why the guys couldn’t spot her injuries and be alert sooner. Apart from this head injury and the obvious trauma, she was okay and didn’t suffer from any other damage.
Searching The Car
When the cops arrested the man, they searched him as well as the car he was driving. Turns out, the car belonged to the victim, not the driver. They found a knife in the cushion of the front seat and a handgun in his glove compartment. His intentions were crystal clear and these findings were obvious evidence for it.
The Endless Chase
The boys chased the black car for about 40 miles, which is unbelievably brave on their part. It would have been so easy to not care and run the opposite way but they chased him down and saved the girl. Nobody was hurt and they ended up catching the culprit as well. It was a truly remarkable gesture.
Interviewing The Victim
Even though nobody got hurt, the police had to investigate all the details. They wanted to know how the girl ended up in her own car with a kidnapper. They interviewed the girl for details. She braced herself and began to tell them about the incident that she will never be able to forget.
How Did It Happen?
It was around 11 pm last night when the girl was coming home from a young networking party in downtown. She was walking to her car when she felt three sharp blows on her head, somebody had knocked something into her head from behind. She believes it was the handgun.
The man then forced her into the backseat of her car. A few miles later, to avoid her from contacting anyone, he threw her cellphone out of the window. The girl admitted that her brain was losing consciousness because of the injury but she had a feeling she is about to be raped and killed by this man.
Spotting The Boys
But when the girl gained consciousness again, the man was still driving and the sun was shining outside. That is when they halted at a red light and she spotted the boys in the car next to theirs. She considered this to be her moment, she has to try and fight for her life. So she tried to meet the boy’s eyes and hope they notice her.
On running a background check, the man driving the car was recognized as Charles Atkins Lewis Jr. He was charged with aggravated kidnapping. Also, the handgun which was found in his car was not licensed which acted as another red flag. Even though the man was identified, the cops could not point out the motives behind this act.
Motive Behind The Act
He didn’t know the woman before, so there is no reason for holding a grudge or wishing to cause a personal attack. The man had a clean record so he was not a serial killer either. The police could not find a connection between the culprit and the victim.
Criminal In Jail
Atkins chose to remain silent during his interrogation. He was charged and sent to jail on $50,000 bond. The man’s lawyer said his client is innocent until proven guilty. He will be attending all his court hearings but until then there is no lead on why he tried to kidnap the girl.
The boys were highly praised by the community for their bravery and smart decision making. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Even though they only had a feeling, they still called 911 and reported the incident plus they followed the man and saved the girl. Their efforts were recognized by all.
The teens’ act of bravery was the talk of the town, so much that it was covered by news channels all around the country. People were taking their interviews, printing out their pictures. Their faces were all over the newspapers and media channels.
The victim, who chose to remain anonymous, had declared them as heroes in each of her interviews. But the boys were extremely humble about it. They said, “She says we saved her life. I guess you could say we did. But I don’t want to be that person who says they’re a hero.”
Stay In Touch
The girl’s gratitude towards the boys was obvious from her numerous praises directed at them. But even Aaron mentioned in one of his interviews that he would like to stay in touch with her. Although he will do so only after the investigation and court trials end since he didn’t want to meddle with any of that.
Don’t Be Afraid To Look
Trusting your gut instinct proved to be a beneficial thing in this case. Had Jamal not noticed the distress on the girl’s face, he never would have caught the guy in the situation and the ignorance would have cost that girl her life. So it is significant to be conscious of our surroundings, you never know what might be happening with those who can’t speak for themselves.