DONIPHAN, Neb. — A Shelton woman was driving north Monday on U.S. Highway 281 when a man who’d been kicked out of another vehicle forced his way into her van.
The woman, frightened by the man, took her infant and left the vehicle. But the suspect didn’t get far because the key fob remained with the woman. The type of vehicle the woman was driving shuts down when it gets too far away from the key fob.
No one was injured in the incident, which took place about three miles south of Doniphan shortly after 11 a.m.
The suspect, a 30-year-old man from Superior, Nebraska, was arrested on suspicion of robbery, criminal mischief and theft by unlawful taking.
The incident began when another driver picked up the man, who was hitchhiking in Hastings. The driver was heading north on 281.
The two men had a dispute in the vehicle. The driver pulled over and told the man to get out. He refused, so the driver “forced him out,” said Hall County Capt. Greg Ahlers. The dispute may have involved the driver’s phone and a small wooden object that resembles a bat. The wooden object was a tire chucker, Ahlers said.
The man then moved toward the northbound traffic on Highway 281 and stopped the van driven by the Shelton woman.
On her Facebook page, she wrote that she had to slam on the brakes or she would have hit him.
“He was waving his arms and said he needed help,” she wrote. A white truck, which the hitchhiking man had left behind, was still nearby.
“The man who ran out in front of me proceeded to wiggle his arm though the van window (which I had only slightly opened) and unlocked the van door and got in. He started yelling at me to go. I refused and he started to try and put my vehicle in drive. I yelled at him to stop and that I wasn’t going to take him anywhere. He then proceeded to reach for his waist band in which I assumed he may have a gun. I told him that I needed to take my baby to the hospital and he wasn’t going to take her.”
She grabbed her daughter and the diaper bag, bailed out of the car, and ran into a nearby ditch. Many people stopped to help and got the pair to safety, she wrote.
The man tried to use the woman’s phone. He called 911 and took some selfies, she wrote. She included one of the selfies in her Facebook post.
After the van shut down, the man started walking but hadn’t gotten very far when Hall County deputies arrived.
When he was arrested, the man had the wooden tire chucker and a pocket knife. He didn’t have a gun.