COLUMBIA, SC — A South Carolina college student has revealed how she made a dramatic escape from the kidnappers who were holding her at gunpoint and threatening to sexually assault her by jumping out of her moving car.
Jordan Dinsmore, whose horrifying ordeal began at around 12:45 A.M. on Wednesday, also said she was able to stay calm during the attack after remembering advice given to her by her mom.
The 20-year-old Midland Tech student had finished her shift at Buffalo Wild Wings and pulled into the dimly lit parking lot of The Villages, her student-apartment complex. Suddenly, three men, all wearing dark clothing, came out of nearby trees and pushed Dinsmore to the ground.
She said that one of the assailants pointed a gun at her and threatened to kill her if she did not stop screaming. After robbing her of her phone and purse, they forced Dinsmore back into her 2009 Scion.
That’s when the men realized that since none of them could operate a manual transmission, they’d have to force Dinsmore to drive. This lucky fact enabled Dinsmore to be in control enough of the situation to be able to escape. One of the men ran away at this point, frustrated by the kink in their plans, but the other two — including the man holding the gun — forced Dismore into the driver’s seat and told her to drive them to a nearby ATM.
Dinsmore pulled up to the ATM and withdrew $300 – the maximum allowed. While this was happening, she took a deep breath and unlocked her seat belt. Despite giving them the money they asked for and her multiple pleas to be released, her kidnappers still did not let her go. Instead, they told her to drive toward downtown Columbia.
Dinsmore left her seat belt off during this time — and hoped that her assailants would not notice the beeping alarm. As they drove, one of her abductors told her they were headed to a relative’s house, where Dinsmore would be forced to have sex with one of his friends.
That’s when Dinsmore, a criminal justice major with dreams of becoming an FBI agent after graduation, thought about a story that her mother Beth Turner had told her about how she avoided an assault while in college by fighting back. Her mom’s advice? Stay calm, look for an escape — and never let them get you to the secondary location.
“If they get you out of the public eye, they’re going to do something worse to you and shoot you anyway,” Dinsmore remembered her mother had told her.
That’s when Dinsmore purposely missed a turn her kidnappers ordered her to make. They ordered her to pull over but, with three cars coming in the opposite direction, she threw the car in neutral and jumped out while it was traveling at around 35 miles per hour.
“I just screamed: ‘Call 911! Call 911! Someone just kidnapped me and threatened to shoot me!’ ” Dinsmore told The State newspaper. She saw her car roll off the road and into the bushes, and says she did not see what happened to her attackers after that.
Dinsmore suffered a few cuts and bruises during the attack, and is staying with her parents in Charleston. The shaken student is cooperating with Richland County investigators on the case, including one who nicknamed her “James Bond” for her escape act, and says, “I’m going to be driving a manual for the rest of my life.”
The incident is among seven armed robberies, carjackings, and kidnappings that have taken place in the area over the past month, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Thursday. Police have said that the kidnapping may have been racially motivated.
Main photo: Jordan Dinsmore [The State (video screenshot)]