Jump From Moving Car Saves Woman From Carjack Kidnapping, Worse

Image: Jordan stands with Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.
Jordan stands with Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.Courtesy of Beth Turner

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By Zoe Rohrich

A young woman from South Carolina is being called "James Bond” by authorities after she escaped three kidnappers by jumping out of a moving car — and she hopes others can learn from her story.

Jordan, 20, who attends college in Columbia, South Carolina, and asked NBC News not to use her last name, was robbed, then abducted, before she was able to break free from her captors by making her terrifying jump.

She said she only had "bruises and scratches" after the harrowing escape. "That's the best I could have asked for jumping out of a moving vehicle at 35 miles per hour, I'm so lucky that I wasn't hurt worse."

Her ordeal was the latest in a spate of carjackings and kidnappings that took place in the area — at least six in July alone, although four of those were apparently stick-ups of food delivery drivers, police said —something Jordan’s mom says her daughter wasn’t warned about.

Jordan says it is now her goal to spread awareness about what happened to her in the hope that others will know how to survive a similar situation.

Jordan stands with Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.Courtesy of Beth Turner

After pulling into her dimly-lit apartment complex after a late work shift last Tuesday, Jordan said she was confronted by three men who had been hiding crouched behind a nearby car.

They pushed her to the ground and demanded her purse, phone, and bank card pin number, she said. With a gun pointed to her head, Jordan was forced back into her car — they told her she was going to ride in the car with them to the bank.

"I said, 'You already have everything. Why can’t I just leave?'" Jordan said. After trying to scream for help, one of the men told her, "If you don’t shut up, I’ll shoot."

Inside the car, her captors began attempting to shift the vehicle, at which point Jordan told them it was manual transmission. She again asked to be left behind, at which point they responded, “No. You’re going to drive.”

Liquid Highway Car Wash employees reveal Jordan's newly detailed car.John Ryan

Terrified, Jordan drove her captors to a nearby gas station with a drive-through ATM. “They were telling me, ‘Don’t open the door, don’t get out,’” Jordan said. “At this point, I’m calming down, I’m thinking through my options.”

Jordan unbuckled her seat belt to reach the ATM through her driver’s side window, taking $300 from her bank account.

“The safety beeping for not buckling my seat belt was going off, but I was just hoping they wouldn’t notice,” she said.

As they pulled out of the bank parking lot, Jordan was told she would be forced to have sex with one of her captor’s friends, at which point she knew her time to escape was running out and she remembered her mother’s words.

“My mom always told me ‘Do not let them get you out of the public eye. We would never know what happened to you,’” she said.

As she began driving, Jordan said she faked confusion when asked by her captors to turn off the main road. After she saw the headlights of oncoming cars, she began slowing down. Her seat belt still unbuckled, she knew she had to jump — and fast.

“I’m thinking, ‘I have to do this now. I have to do this now,’” she said.

The next thing she remembers is hitting the pavement. “I don’t remember how I hit, just the white lines of the road," she said.

The area was mostly deserted but "a woman finally passed me in a car, and 20 yards in front of me she stopped. She called 911 for me.” The woman took Jordan to the gas station, where they met the police.

When she was safe, Jordan took to Twitter to warn others:

“Please be careful you guys. I almost died tonight. I wanted to remind everyone to be safe when coming home late at night because I was just attacked, kidnapped and held at gunpoint from my apartment door. The only reason I wasn’t raped and most likely killed was because I kept my head and jumped out of my own moving vehicle on a busy street to get away. Thank you to the kind woman who heard my screaming and stopped her care for me and to Richland PD for responding instantly and giving me my new nickname, James Bond.”

The nickname "James Bond" was first used when at a local press briefing of the incident, where Jordan was introduced by the Richland County sheriff as the spy movie legend.

Police said they have arrested three suspects in connection with the recent carjacking/kidnap incidents, at least two of them are teenagers.

Rima Abdelkader contributed.