Local News

Woman shares tale of escape from possible kidnapper

Posted March 22, 2010 10:21 a.m. EDT
Updated March 22, 2010 4:04 p.m. EDT

— Police on Monday charged a Sanford man in the attempted abduction of a woman outside a local convenience store.

Ralph Edward Collins, 57, of 110 Thistlecone Lane, was charged with first-degree kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon. He was being held in the Lee County jail under a $75,000 secured bond.

A 24-year-old woman told police that she stopped at Stewart's Convenience Store, 902 Broadway Road, after dropping her child off at a day-care center. A man whom she recognized as a friend of a friend pulled up in a black Toyota Corolla and forced her into the car, she told police.

The man pistol-whipped the woman inside the car as he drove off, she said, but she was able to get control of the car long enough to stop it and jump out.

Mike Buchanan said he was stocking Coca-Cola products at the BP Station at 812 S. Horner Blvd. when the woman rushed in shortly before 8 a.m. and fell to the floor, crying and out of breath.

"Somehow she pulled the emergency brake, and she jumped out," Buchanan said. "She was hysterical.

"She was not hurt or anything like that. She kept holding her chest, but I think that was (because) she couldn't breathe. She was so terrified, but that's understandable."

The woman refused medical treatment and wasn't seriously injured, Capt. David Smith of the Sanford Police Department said.

Smith said the assailant apparently wanted to have a relationship with the woman, but the feeling wasn't mutual.

Collins drove to the police station with another woman late Monday morning and was charged after being questioned by investigators.