SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — A mother had only seconds to act when she realized she was going to be carjacked with her 19-month-old son in the backseat.
It happened around 7 a.m. Tuesday in the parking lot of the Legacy at Church Lake Apartments on Church Road.
The mother, who didn't want to be identified, said she had just started her car and was buckling her son into his car seat when she felt an unfamiliar presence behind her.
"I put him in his seat and I'm locking his left arm in and the guy just grabbed my purse," she said.
She said a man in a gray hoodie raced with her purse to the other side of her black Honda Accord and jumped into the driver's seat.
Knowing what would happen next, she held tight to her son's car seat, hoping to free him from the car.
"It was just my adrenaline. It just kicked in and the whole seat just came out," she said.
Police were there within minutes, the mother said.
Southaven police said they chased the carjacking suspect north along I-55 into Memphis before losing sight of him.
Police later found the car on the Shelby Drive exit ramp where the driver had struck a road sign, causing some serious damage to the car.
"It was flipped. It was turned sideways."
But it was nothing compared to the damage the mother fears is still to come. Her apartment keys and ID cards were taken with her purse.
"Which signifies to me that they're coming back. They know who I am, they've watched me for so long and they're coming back," she said.
A manager at the Legacy at Church Lake Apartments told WREG that they would be happy to change the mother's locks and had already offered to transfer her to a different unit or different apartment complex, but that she had declined their offer.
"Moving me to another unit, that's not gonna work. That's not sufficient," she said.
"I fear for my life at this point. I want out of my lease," she added.
Police said they've made no arrests in this case.