In just seconds a stop at a gas station turned into a carjacking and kidnapping. Now, an Albuquerque couple is still recovering from the attack and warning others about what happened to them.
It was around 1 a.m. on Sunday when the couple pulled up to the gas pump.
The woman said in a matter of seconds, it was a life or death situation and she’s thankful to be alive.
“He said you can either jump out, or I’ll kill you,” said Karina Fernandez.
It’s something no one ever wants to hear, but that’s what a man told Karina Fernandez early Sunday morning when he carjacked and kidnapped her at a Shell gas station along Coors and Iliff.
“Usually I have the habit of locking the doors, but I was looking for my phone. I was very distracted,” she said.
Fernandez said her boyfriend had run into the Giant convenience store to get snacks while she waited in the car.
“So I heard the door slam and I look over and it’s not my boyfriend, so I freaked out and the guy just turned on the car and he took off with me in there,” said Fernandez.
That’s when 22-year-old Christian Herrera gave her that ultimatum.
“At that moment I’m like, it’s life or death,” she said.
The car was going about 40 mph according to Fernandez, but she said she had to take the chance.
“I was just thinking about my daughter and knowing like when he said he was gonna kill me…It’s like, this could go either way,” she said.
She survived with some bumps and bruises.
Meanwhile, her boyfriend, Tim McDaniel, went chasing after the car.
“She was screaming so I started running, and when he saw me running he took off and he was going fast,” said McDaniel.
They called 911 but he was gone. So McDaniel borrowed a car, and through the Find My iPhone app began following the carjacker.
“A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Officer passes us and we waved him down,” he said.
Deputies put out spike strips and got Herrera at the Rio Grande off-ramp.
“Someone else hopefully won’t have to go through what we went through that night,” said Mcdaniel.
Hererra is now in custody and off the streets — the state is hoping until his trial.
“If I wouldn’t have taken initiative and my boyfriend wouldn’t have taken initiative, he wouldn’t be in jail,” said Fernandez.
Karina Fernandez said she’s badly bruised and has a fractured toe, but for the most part, she says she’s okay. Her car was totaled when Herrera was caught by deputies.
Herrera was wanted by the FBI for a bank robbery in 2016. The state has asked the judge to keep him locked up until trial.