An Alabama woman who was kidnapped at gunpoint and forced into the trunk of her own car by an unidentified man has described her flight to freedom.
Nursing student Brittany Diggs, 25, was abducted outside her apartment in Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday (14 March) after the man approached her and demanded money. After telling him she did not have any cash, the suspect took Diggs' phone and wallet before throwing her into the trunk of her black Nissan Altima.
According to reports, Diggs received death threats and was driven around the city before the suspect pulled into a petrol station – where the victim's breakout was caught on camera.
"The victim stated the suspect drove to multiple unknown locations," Sergeant Bryan Shelton said after the incident. "It is believed the suspect was using [Diggs'] card to get money."
Describing her ordeal, Diggs told Today: "The whole time he's driving, he's, like, just, he's yelling at me from the front seat, 'You're lying. I know you have something. Give me your money.'"
The suspect returned the to car and began leaving the petrol station after failing to withdraw more cash from the ATM, which is when Diggs put her daring escape plan into action.
"I'm holding the latch like this, waiting for him to get back in the car. He gets in [and] he's yelling ... and I feel the car reversing, and he's pulling out pretty fast, so I'm, like, 'Oh shoot – I better get out of here,'" she recounted.
"I just got the bright idea to use my insulin pump light, which is not a bright light, but it was bright enough to see," she added. "So I had to put it right on top of it to look and see for the latch."
That's when Diggs managed to fling the trunk open and "flopped out", in her own words. Her bold breakout – which was recorded on surveillance camera – shows Diggs hitting the floor and storming towards the store's entrance to seek help.
Her escape was corroborated by Birmingham police and the owner of the petrol station, Yosef Alsabah, who told NBC affiliate WVTM: "As he was leaving, I saw the trunk pop up and a woman jumped out of the trunk and came inside the store. I let her inside a safe place and locked the door and called the police."
The suspect is still on the loose and police are searching for him. Authorities released a photo of the person of interest on social media.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Janise Robinson, a friend of Diggs, to help her start afresh. Diggs is relocating due to fears over her safety.
The page says: "This stranger took everything from her and made her get in the trunk of her own car.
"He alluded to doing vile things which encouraged her to save herself. With the help of her insulin pump, she was able to find the lever, jump out and save her life! Brittany jumped with nothing to lose but also nothing to come back.
"She appreciates all of the words of encouragement, love and prayers she has witnessed! She thanks you in advance! Donations will be used for:*New Housing*Moving funds*Hospital Fees*Lawyer fees*Misc"
At the time of publication, the campaign had raised $5,120 (£4,124) of the $7,000 target.