I’m 30 years old, female, and a current student in nursing. 2020 Thanksgiving went from exciting to creepy for me. It started off with me passing an exam at 86%, spending a pre-Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his family (he was leaving for a Cal Firebase). This particular night before Thanksgiving, I spent at my brothers’ house. I left for home around 8am. I woke up exhausted but my mental state turned manic, I was awake and wanting to get my sister a surprise gift from me and her kids. Because she hadn’t replied, in my manic state I decided to go to her house. The day was fun, with a lot of food, booze, and dancing. I loved it! Around 6pm I planned my trip out to my boyfriends’ temp house. We got into a bit of an argument, as I told him since it was a 3-hour drive, I’d start out around 1am.
He did not agree with this, as he thought it would be too late and darkroom travel to a rural area; which prompted me to remind him “I am grown.” (Mistake) He became a bit nervous and upset. However, later we agreed on my arrival. The festive went on at my sisters’. Alcohol fun, thanksgiving family pictures, and food. Around 11pm I decided to take a nap, however, my manic brain thought to shower. Due to me needing help with running the shower, and attempts to fix my hair, I ended up laying down around midnight. I decided to sleep until 1am, however, I ended up passing out over that time frame. I set an alarm to wake up at 1am, but of course, I slept through it. I was woken up at 3:30am when my sister asked me “why didn’t you leave?” I woke up and desperately moved as fast as I could out of her house. I left my phone and had to turn around and go back. Once I retrieved the phone I was on my way for a second time, I ended up going the WRONG WAY, as I mixed up two cities names, because they both started with “CH”. Once the GPS was on, and I realized I was going in the wrong direction, I was on my way.
The first hour seemed to be frustrating, as at that time I thought I left my vape pens. (Thanks to my sister telling me I left my pens, Which she meant actual pens.. not her fault, but mine) (although I found the vape pens two days later in my purse 🤦🏾♀️) Once leaving the city lines or Sacramento, I got into a race with a Silverado, that was lifted, and my jealousy that I was in SUV versus a beautiful truck, I decided to take on the race, until I reached 120mph for about 10 minutes and decided it wasn’t worth the ticket. At the time it was only me, the Silverado, and a fellow Ford on the road. About 5 minutes later the Silverado took an exit. Now It was only me and the fellow Ford in a rural dark area.
During the drive, I noticed the Ford was on the side of me, and at one point seemed to be close enough on my right side to swipe me. Due to my blindness in the dark, I was more so focused on making it safely, and not focused on the car that seemed to even cut off other cars to be on the side of me (this was only a 2 lane road in one direction so you can understand why it wasn’t a bother). We made it to a small town that meant taking a major street for about 3-5miles, going through stoplights. At one point I thought, “Dam, I hate when people are too close to me”. It was annoying to me, but after two lights the fellow Ford turned off, and I felt a bit childish for even caring. Two to three lights down as I made it through the green light, I notice a car turning onto the street, and being attentive I noticed the car. It was the same car and at this point my body started to shake as the car made sure it was back on the right side of me, keeping up with persistence this time. My head began to hurt, and at first, I didn’t understand the fear was kicking in. “Why would this car come back to the main street? There are only 3 other cars and he’s the one on the side of me”. The “fight or flight” response began to creep up on me, and I didn’t want to turn my head as if I noticed.
At that moment I did not want to call my boyfriend; “What if I’m just paranoid? I have traveled alone for longer distances at night before.. is alcohol still in my system? My boyfriend and mom will lose it if I call them. Why is this happening? Don’t panic..” At that moment I saw a light turning yellow as we approached side by side. My brain went into rationalization, and thought, “Do not panic, stay calm, ignore the headache. When the light turns green, stay, see if he goes..” We approached the light and stopped. The light seemed to be much longer than the others. I moved my eyes towards the fellow Ford on the side of me. The windows were lightly tinted but I could see a hat and a person looking towards me, then seconds later look up at the light and then peer back into my passenger window.
My head and heart begin to become one, both in pain and fear. Then, the light turned green, there were two cars behind us, but I stayed on my brakes, I didn’t move, and I didn’t see his car enter the intersection either. I turned my head to look and I could now see more of the Silhouette of the man’s face under the hat staring at me. I took off slowly to collect my composure and not seem to be scared, and so did he, keeping my pace of slowly going through the intersection. I heard a car behind us beep the horn, and it was like a light switch. I noticed a truck in the distance through the last light the was making it through the abyss of the rural highway that was only a one-lane road. I decided to speed up to make the last light. But so did the fellow Ford, keeping up with my pace. It seemed that he was trying to cut me off but I went from 45mph to 65mph The trucks were going slow and now he was behind me and so close that I couldn’t see his lights in full. In a panic I went off the side of the road as to pull off to pass up the truck; so did he.
When I noticed he passed the truck and was still just as close behind; I noticed the second truck, I sped up to 90mph and went towards the left which was into incoming traffic to cut off the truck. My rationalization was to speed, and even if I was pulled over I’d be safe (I hoped). I cut the big rig truck off and begin to speed up, now able to see far behind me in the distance through my rearview mirrors I could see the car trying to cut the truck off to the right and left, but cars were oncoming in the opposite lane and due to trees to the right, the Ford seemed to weave in and out of the lane. He was trying to erratically cut off the truck. By now even the truck lights were far behind me; I was going about 120mph and continued it with no effort, as I am experienced with driving fast, and my adrenaline to “flight” made it easy (I was still shaking and crying, and the headache became bearable). After about 5-10minutes I slowed to 80mph, and then to 65mph after about 30 minutes.
An hour later I stopped at a store that appeared to have many customers, which prompt me to stop, as I was paranoid and couldn’t be 100% sure the fellow Ford wasn’t near me. I went into the store to grab food and coffee, but my appetite was gone so I decided on coffee and a smoke. Walking into the store, I saw both customers and employees give me a wide eye look, followed with a look of sorrow, which made me feel embarrassed. I was shaking and my make up had run all over my face from the crying and I’m sure I looked like I was coming down off of drugs from the fact that my sympathetic nerve was transferring its hard work over to the parasympathetic nerve (I was coming down off the adrenaline). I went to pay for my coffee, and request smokes, but the shaking made it hard for me to enter my pin for my debit card; I had to try three times. Back to the car, I went in fear, my head pounded into my ears, I hoped some tobacco would calm me. The smoke seemed to help calm me down slightly, but the shaking and headache persisted in a bearable manner. The sun was coming up and I was almost there.
I was still shaking and still upset, and crying on and off. Of course when I made it to my boyfriend’s; he could sense it and he was able to get the truth out of me. I could see he was upset, but he tried to Console me. With a hug and kiss, and encouraging rest so I could calm down. It was hard to study that day, the headache persisted, and I stayed in bed. My boyfriend made the decision of me not taking any more late-night drives, and even made sure I stayed in his dwellings until he was off and with me. It’s days later and it’s dark out, and I’m scared to go out. I wish I would have listened. 30 or not, no person, male or female, should think it’s ok to drive into rural areas at night. There are crazies out there…