Woman takes ride of her life, ditches suspect
Less than 24 hours after being kidnapped and threatened with her life, tears came to the eyes of Casey Martinez as she looked up at the court television screen Thursday and saw that the man she accused of attacking her was behind bars.
No one expects to be robbed, kidnapped and told they could be killed when they come in for work. Yet that’s what Martinez, 31, said happened to her Wednesday night.
Just after 10 p.m., Martinez was working at Last Chance Liquors, 1203 Pitkin Ave., when a man pulled her into the store’s back room, stole money from the cash register and threatened to “blast her” if she didn’t help him get away, she said.
Although Martinez was forced to go for a ride in her own vehicle, she later got away, remembering an extra key she had in her car’s console.
“I thought, ‘I have two seconds to save my life,’ ” Martinez said of the moment after her kidnapper pulled over to fill up her car with fuel at a gas station in Cameo. “I got the keys, threw my leg over the seat and went like 100 (mph) to the (interstate) exit.”
According to arrest affidavits, 30-year-old Daniel Washington of Texas was arrested in Parachute on suspicion of stealing a truck in Cameo and threatening to kill the driver. The truck’s owner, 33-year-old Chris Fletcher, told police he grabbed his dog and jumped out of the moving vehicle after a man pushed his way into his cab and threatened to kill him while holding something that looked like a gun.
The man drove east, and Fletcher identified Washington as his attacker after police in Parachute detained him, the affidavit said.
A judge set bond for Washington at $500,000 during his first court appearance by way of a video feed from Mesa County Jail. He had been booked into jail early Thursday morning on suspicion of two counts each of kidnapping, aggravated robbery, first-degree auto theft, theft of more than $20,000, and menacing, plus one count of criminal impersonation, all felonies.
Prosecutor Richard Brown said in court that Washington had been staying at a homeless shelter in Grand Junction for a couple weeks. He said Washington was on probation because of two felony convictions in Mississippi. Brown said prosecutors will seek habitual criminal charges against him.
“We can only speculate what he might have been planning for her had she not gotten away,” Brown said about Martinez.
While seeing a friend walking from the courthouse, Martinez raised her hands above her head in celebration, exclaiming, “I’m a survivor.”
Martinez said her kidnapper made her keep her hands up and kept telling her “as long as you cooperate I won’t have a reason to kill you.” He told her he had spent 10 years in prison and had killed a person before, and that he had “nothing to lose if I kill you,” Martinez said.
Martinez said the man planned to drive to Denver or Colorado Springs, then Detroit, where he said he would let her go. Martinez, who has an 11-year-old son, said she became afraid when the man drove her car onto Interstate 70, heading east. She said she never saw a gun but she believed he had one.
“The first time he grabbed me I knew there was no way I was going to fight this guy,” she said.
After he stopped the vehicle at Cameo, Martinez saw her chance to flee.
“I just knew that God was with me,” she said. “I tried to get a relationship with him so he didn’t want to kill me. I just knew I had a second chance at life.”