Carjacking victim thankful to be alive

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News 12 at 11 o'clock, June 20, 2007

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.---There were two carjackings last night in North Augusta, and North Augusta Public Safety is still looking for the two men who did it.

A Toyota Tundra was carjacked from a man's driveway in the Rapids subdivision, and that vehicle is still missing.

The first carjacking happened almost an hour earlier in the parking lot of Plaza Place Apartments, at the intersection of Martintown Road and Knox Avenue.

Neither victim was injured, and North Augusta Police Chief Lee Wetherington says both victims reacted the best possible way: "In both cases the victims did absolutely the right thing. Give up the cars. Give up the keys. Let them go. You can always replace a can always replace a vehicle. Tragically, that's not always the outcome."

The outcome could have been far worse for both of those victims, but fortunately it wasn't.

News 12 sat down with the victim in the first carjacking, who's just happy to be alive.

James Corey could have been killed last night. He says one of the carjackers threatened his life by putting a gun put to his head.

"I was actually, for the first time in a long time, praying to God, please don't shoot me," he said.

Shortly before 10 o'clock, James stepped outside his apartment building and got into his car to go to a convenience store. All of a sudden, he was confronted by two carjackers.

"Somebody opened the door and told me to get out of my car, and at that time, a gun was pointed straight to my head, and he told me to get on the ground," James said. "After that, I got kicked me in the head and the two people jumped in the car and sped away."

James says he waited until his silver Hyundai Elantra was out of sight before making a move. When he realized he was still alive, he quickly went inside to call for help.

"I crawled up the stairs to the apartment and just fell to the apartment door, and told my wife to call 911, we've been robbed," he said.

"A car is replaceable," said James' wife, Kerri. "My husband isn't."

Kerri is relieved that her husband is still alive. She says when her husband came into their apartment, she couldn't believe what happened.

"My heart jumped out of my chest. I couldn't even believe it," she said. "It was right in front of the complex. It was right in front of the door."

Authorities were able to locate the Corey family car on Peach Orchard Road. Some of the items in the car were missing, and you can still see the fingerprint dust left on the handle as a reminder of the incident. But the young couple says as much as they need transportation, losing a car is not the worst thing that could have happened. They could have lost the head of their family...and because they didn't, they are very thankful.

"Thank God his life...that he was spared, to come home to his wife, his daughter and his son," Kerri said. "Because he is too precious."

"I'm just lucky that my life was spared and that I can be home with my wife and my little girl," James said.

Here's a description of the men police are looking for: two black males, both between the ages of 18 and 30. One of them was wearing a black New York Yankees hat and white and gray camouflage pants.

The second victim's vehicle is still missing. It's a maroon, four-door Toyota Tundra.

If you have any information, please call North Augusta Public Safety. You can call their Crime Watch anonymous tip line at 803-27-WATCH.

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