Michelle Flores finished her bartending shift at a Dallas nightclub and was driving home to Fort Worth late Sunday night when someone pulled alongside her car, mouthing 'Your tire, your tire ... pull over.' The 35-year-old mother of three would have normally ignored such a warning, but this time pulled over on Highway 183 in Irving, fearing that the construction sign she rolled over earlier that day could have done serious damage to her back tire.
Reflecting back, she says, "It was just coincidental."
She pulled aside, cracked her window and the man approached and told her the tire was wobbly and the bolts might be loose. "I'm so sorry, I don't mean to scare you," he said reassuringly. Nothing about the nice young man worried her. Nothing.
They both examined the tire, and he told he she had to get it checked out soon. He began walking away, and she dialed a friend to explain what had happened. Then, he turned back to ask if she happened to have a tire iron. He could take care of it right here, he said. As she said she didn't, he remembered that he might have one in his trunk. Distracted as she was making a call, she walked to his car.
By this point, her guard was down. The thin Hispanic man with wire-framed glasses and short hair was concerned, not threatening. He had almost walked away before remembering there was more he could do to help.
It turns out, he was a remarkably good actor. She leaned over to grab the tool from his trunk, and he put an arm around her neck, another around her body, picked her up, and threw her into the back seat of his white car, an Isuzu Rodeo, she was later told.
"Get in the car, don't fight or I'll kill you," he warned, shoving her while she struggled. He held a stun gun, and that became Flores' target, as she knew it could lead to her demise. It grazed her lip and chest, but never made enough contact to debilitate her before she knocked it from his hand.
"If I comply, he's not gonna let me go," she recalls thinking. She had seen his face and car; she could easily pick him out of a line-up and they both knew that. He had yellow rope in the backseat.
She reached for the door, swinging it open and fighting to drag herself out and he yanked her in from the other side. Finally, she rolled out the door, and with nowhere else to go, she frantically ran into oncoming traffic.
The man waited, watching from the side of the road while cars whizzed and swerved. No one was stopping. She thought he would catch her once traffic slowed.
Finally, he got back in his car and pulled away as she heard someone call from the other side of the highway: "Are you OK, are you OK?"
David Montes, a TSA employee at DFW Airport, was on his way to work when he saw Flores tumble from the car and run into traffic. Flores was screaming, "He's trying to kill me; he's trying to kill me."
"I had no idea what was going on," Montes says, but he pulled over and dialed 911. "This could have been my wife it could have been my daughter -- could have been anybody," he says.
If Montes hadn't stopped, Flores says, "I think he would have continued coming after me."
Now, she fears another run-in with her attacker. "You know, was he waiting for me at my job? Is he gonna show up at my job? My concern is mostly for the next person he does this to ... I'm pretty sure this wasn't the first time and it won't be the last."
Anyone with information can reach Irving police at 972-273-1010.
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