Carolina Vargas, a Costa Rican who has worked as an Uber driver in Tennessee for a pair of years, barely survived an assault from an Uber client. Vargas (26) drives a black 2011 Ford Explorer, yet was found by a Good Samaritan on the side of the road, injured, dazed, bleeding profusely, and missing three teeth – but alive after having saved herself by jumping out of her moving car. The car was gone.
Vargas was hired on May 5th by a truck driver whose rig had broken down, to drive him to Cleveland, Tennessee. They chatted on the trip to Cleveland, speaking about their families, Carolina’s home country, the client’s grandchildren, and other pleasant subjects. Vargas always trusts her instincts about people, and no alarms went off with this middle aged man. It was always her policy to take a photo of her clients on her cell phone, a policy which helped lead police to arrest him.
On May 8, the client, a man named Christopher Miller, again hired Vargas to take him back to where his truck had been repaired, and was awaiting its owner. This trip was not as pleasant as the first had been. At about the halfway point home, Miller told Vargas that he knew of a shortcut back to Nashville which would save her time and gas. When Vargas protested, Miller shoved her hard in her ribs, and revealed he had a knife. She says he told her, “Now you are going to do exactly as I say.”
Vargas begged Miller to let her go. It soon became apparent that Miller had no intention of releasing her or her car, and was in fact enjoying dominating the young woman. In a desperate maneuver, Vargas unclipped her cell phone, and threw herself out of the speeding vehicle. “I took my seatbelt off and grabbed my phone and in that second that’s when I opened the door and jumped,” stated Vargas. “I just remember feeling a ball of fire where the tire drove over me.”
She was found crumpled by the side of the highway, bruised, bloody, missing teeth, but without any broken bones. She was taken to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, Georgia. Vargas was treated there, and released. Vargas said, “I didn’t break one bone. And I’m so grateful just to be alive. I couldn’t believe everything was so fast.”
The police were able to locate Vargas’ assailant by the photo of Miller she had on her cell phone, and the copy of his driver’s license taken at the hotel where he stayed. He is facing charges of assault, hijacking a motor vehicle, and weapons possession. The stolen vehicle was recovered.
Vargas’ Costa Rican family believes she survived an attempted kidnapping for the sex traffic business. They have begun a GoFundMe page to help with her medical expenses, and lost wages.
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