The identity of the victim in this case hasn’t been revealed but the details of her story have been making news in Tennessee. The 19-year-old woman was at her brother’s house in a county southwest of Nashville. Her 31-year-old ex-boyfriend, Johnathon Smith, showed up and asked her to get in his truck and go for a ride. She apparently agreed to that request, though it’s not entirely clear what the circumstances were. But soon after they drove off the situation became dangerous.
They began traveling east on Highway 100 and “got into a physical altercation” in the truck Doddo said.
“The girlfriend then asked to be let out. He said, ‘No,’” Doddo said. “(Smith) then threatened to kill her by grabbing a screwdriver and telling her, if he couldn’t have her, nobody could have her.”
Smith began driving reckless, passing on double yellow lines before they arrived at the Twice Daily gas station at Highways 100 and 46 at about 1 p.m. They both went inside.
And that’s when the woman did something she’d seen on TikTok videos.
According to cashier Angel Barnhill, the girl was in the candy aisle and made a hand gesture, seen on Tik Tok, that signaled that the woman was in distress, possibly from a domestic abuse situation.
According to Barnhill, another shopper saw the signal, recognized it, and then told employees who called 911.
Store personnel told News 2 they were afraid to act, fearing that Smith might be armed.
But the clerks did stall, pretending the registers were broken long enough for the Hickman County deputies to respond…
“He seemed like he was very high on something. He was walking eye balls and bones. He seemed iffy. We were not sure what he would do if I grabbed her,” Barnhill said. “She looked so fragile and crying and very upset and looked like she might have been hit recently, her face was very red, and it looked like he wouldn’t let her leave his side.”
Smith apparently caught on to the fact that the clerks were stalling him and pulled the young woman back to his truck. But by that point a Sheriff’s Office corporal pulled up and began following Smith’s white pickup truck. The ensuing chase last for 10-15 minutes and at times reached speeds of 90 mph. Finally, Smith lost control of his truck and drove off the road into a creek. He ran for it, pursued by Deputy Bryan Bailey:
“At that time, I asked the female if she was okay, and the woman was okay,” Bailey recalled.
Bailey holstered his firearm, and switched to a stun gun, chasing the 31-year-old through a creek, over a barbed wire fence and into a field.
Jonathan Smith didn’t immediately comply and got tased by Bailey. He’s now in custody facing several felony charges including aggravated kidnapping and aggravated domestic assault.
I don’t have a Tik Tok account and I wasn’t familiar with this particular hand signal but this is apparently not the first time a woman has helped to rescue herself using it. Last November a 16-year-old girl abducted in North Carolina by a 61-year-old man used it to signal for help. Someone in a passing car saw her make the signal, recognized it and called the police.
Finally, here’s a local news report on the Tennessee situation.