For about 40 miles, Elsya and her 20-month-old son were trapped in a car with a stranger at the wheel. With the back doors unhitched and flapping, and speeding at more than 100 miles per hour, she says, the strange man threatened her, wielded a shard of glass like a knife and convinced her that she and her child were going to be killed.
"I thought, 'We're going to die either way,'" said Elsya, who spoke to The Sun on the condition that her last name not be published. Either from his wild driving or at his own hands, Elsya thought she and baby Julius were as good as dead.
Yesterday, the mother and child were at home recovering from injuries, having jumped from a moving car during a high-speed chase from Baltimore to Washington.
The driver had forced his way inside her black Lexus at a West Baltimore gas station Wednesday night, according to police, and sped down Interstate 95 toward Washington.
Elsya said that as she got out of her car at the Citgo gas station in the 2800 block of Edmondson Ave., she saw a man arguing with the station attendant. She decided to go to another station, but as she was getting back in the car the man was upon her.
"I don't know what his motive was," Elsya said. The rest of the incident, she said, is a blur.
After shoving the woman into the backseat, he sped off, she said.
She remembers him breaking the driver's side window with his elbow. He wagged his tongue at her and muttered "nasty stuff," she said. She said he threatened to kill her when he realized she had a cellphone, which he threw out the window.
Authorities called the man's speed erratic — they said he sideswiped a marked cruiser at a construction zone, prompting a high-speed pursuit. At one point, Elsya said she thought he was going to pull over because he kept instructing her to tell police that they were together.
Finally, on the Beltway near Rockville, police said, the driver slowed and the 24-year-old woman seized the opportunity. She opened the door and jumped onto the pavement, her toddler firmly in her arms.
"I thought I was going to suffocate him, as tight as I was holding him," said Elsya.
State police quickly closed in, stopped the car and arrested the driver. The mother and son were taken to Suburban Hospital, where police said they were examined and sent home to Baltimore.
Maryland State Police charged Terron Alvin White, 22, whose last known address was in the 2400 block of McCulloh St. in Baltimore, with two counts of kidnapping, first- and second-degree assault and several traffic infractions.
Police called the carjacking a random attack.
A Montgomery County District Court commissioner ordered White held without bail; he has a hearing scheduled in front of a judge in Rockville Friday afternoon.
Robert Barnett, who works at the carwash across the street from the gas station in the Rosemont neighborhood, said the man had come to his establishment earlier in the day and asked to use the phone. He and an employee at the gas station said the man had been hanging out all day.
Just before the incident, the gas station owner, Mohammad Mehtadbin, said the man had come inside the shop and grabbed a bag of chips. A clerk can be seen on surveillance video taking the chips out of the man's hand as he left the store.
Police said the man walked out and then forced his way into the Lexus.
A West Baltimore resident who was in the gas station at the time of the incident and gave his name as E. Walker, said, "I saw a whole bunch of people screaming. Somebody said he had a baby in the car. I couldn't tell if anyone was in the car because it went so fast. It hit a mirror off a truck and sped down the hill."
Baltimore police were called to the Citgo gas station at 10:10 p.m. At 10:30 p.m. state police started their chase on I-95.
State police said the Lexus sideswiped a marked state police cruiser whose trooper was working a construction detail at the Inter-County Connector near the exit for Route 212. Police said the trooper chased the Lexus south on the interstate at speeds exceeding 100 mph.
The chase went onto the outer loop of the Capital Beltway, through Silver Spring and into Rockville. Police said the car was speeding up and slowing down, with the victim's hands hanging out a window, as if pleading for help.
At Connecticut Avenue, as the Lexus slowed to 45 mph around curves, state police said a trooper tried to force a stop, as the victim opened the passenger side door and left it hanging.
Another trooper tried to pull the Lexus over, then traveling 45 mph on the outer loop at Connecticut Avenue with the passenger-side door hanging open, according to police. But the driver changed lanes, police said, speeding up to 60 mph, and then slowing back down to under 20 mph.
Just past Cabin John Parkway, as the car slowed even more, police said, the mother managed to jump from the moving car and roll onto the highway. The driver then stopped and was arrested. Police said the victim suffered a cut to her head and her son appeared uninjured.
"I'm really in a lot of pain," Elsya said. "My whole left side hurts, and my neck."
Julius, she said, is doing fine but she is taking him to the doctor as a precaution.
Sun reporters Don Markus and Liz F. Kay contributed to this article.