Local News

Warren County couple recounts harrowing carjacking ordeal

Posted May 8, 2014
Updated May 9, 2014

— A Warren County family was the victim of a carjacking late Wednesday when they stopped along a rural road to help who they thought was a stranded driver.

The husband, wife and their two young sons – who did not want to be fully identified – were on their way home from a late baseball practice around 11:20 p.m. when they stopped along U.S. Highway 158 with the intention to help the man.

"He was crying, sobbing, saying, 'My mom, my mom she's hurt. Please come help us. She's dying,'" the wife, Liza, said Thursday.

When the husband, Chris, got out to help, the man – later identified by authorities as Demontae Lassiter, 24 – got into the car and took off with Liza and her boys.

"All I could think of was 'I've got to get this car stopped, because the further we go, the worse this is going to get,'" Liza said.

They went for about a quarter mile, she added, before she was able to kick the ignition switch to get the car to shut off.

All the while, she added, the carjacker never said a word and appeared to be in what she thought might be an altered state.

Chris said that, throughout the ordeal, he was helpless.

"It's the most hopeless feeling in the world when you're standing, watching anything and everything in the world to you going away," he said.

At the same time, an off-duty North Carolina State Highway Patrol Officer on his way home from work happened to drive by.

Highway Patrol spokesman First Sgt. Jeff Gordon said the trooper saw Lassiter walking westbound on U.S. 158 and turned around to go check on him.

As the trooper was talking with Lassiter, Chris approached the trooper and told him Lassiter tried to kidnap his wife and their kids.

Warren County Sheriff Johnny Williams said the trooper and Lassiter then were involved in a confrontation and that the trooper used a stun gun to subdue him.

Lassiter was taken to the Warren County jail, where he was being held Thursday evening under a $283,000 bond on charges of resist, delay and obstruction of justice and three counts of kidnapping.

The family, meanwhile, is grateful to be together again and has learned an important lesson.

"We've also promised our kids that we will never stop for anybody else unless we know them," Liza said. "So, we'll pass and call 911."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Bob Smith May 9, 2014
    user avatar

    This sad event is a perfect example of bad people and good people in America. And thank goodness for the off-duty State Trooper who also exemplifies what law enforcement men and women do to help the good citizens - which is to protect the rest of us from criminals as this man is. Unfortunately our Justice System will not do its job, and the criminal will be out soon terrorizing more innocent people.

  • Mark Hubbard May 9, 2014
    user avatar

    This is not a "this day and age" thing. My subdivision off US 1 uncovered human bones during construction. The forensics came back as from the 1970's and it wasn't a cemetery. The sheriff later told us many many people went missing, especially hitchhikers, back in that era and body's were found dumped all the time.

  • anon022 May 9, 2014

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    Exactly!! I wouldn't let my husband stop and help if the kids and I were with him. He knows better anyway. Call the PD and let them know!

  • outdoor592000 May 9, 2014

    Good Luck Super Hans.........with your attitude, and obvious distrust of cops, not sure who YOU would call for help.

  • Grand Union May 9, 2014

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    Where do you get that nonsense from? I simply pointed out that you were making assumptions about what happened that could not be safely made from what we are told in the news story.
    As for what they do in other western countries.....seems to work pretty well....they have far lower murder rates than here while other crimes are about the same.

  • lopo May 9, 2014

    Hey call the police and wait for a good guy with a gun to show up and hope the bad guys dont do anything bad.

  • disgusted2010 May 9, 2014

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    Simply incredible how liberals cannot bring themselves to actually blame the person who commits a crime. It has to be a gun, racism, discrimination, or something else rather than holding people accountable for their actions. Maybe that's the enlightened way they do it in "other western countries."

  • Grand Union May 9, 2014

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    Again, where in this story do you get that from? Seems to have been a very strange and utterly incompetent robbery attempt. The guy never says a word, doesn't hurt anyone even when they are kicking the ignition switch and doesn't flee when the car stops.
    Sounds more deranged than criminal.

  • Glock07 May 9, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Wow, this is a positive person

  • Bubba Jim May 9, 2014
    user avatar

    I cant believe he stopped with his Wife and kids in the car. He put his family in harms way...never stop for a stranger. Call local PD and tell them someone needs help.