Carjacking victim recovering, but car remains with tow company under $500 bill

Shelby Griffith (KATU photo)

A woman who was carjacked earlier this week by a man accused of stabbing his girlfriend and assaulting her father is healing, but says she faces a $500 bill from a tow company after the suspect crashed her car.

RELATED: Man accused of stabbing his girlfriend, assaulting her dad in Hazel Dell is in custody

Sankara Etienne, 24, is accused of assaulting his girlfriend and her dad at the Bridge Creek Apartments in Hazel Dell Tuesday afternoon. Etienne fled the apartment after the assault, then carjacked Shelby Griffith, who was in the parking lot of the apartment complex.

Etienne jumped into the car and climbed onto Griffith's lap. Griffith immediately knew what she had to do.

"I'm about to jump out of a moving vehicle, like that only happens in movies," said Griffith from her mom's home on Friday. "We weren’t going very fast, but when you’re looking straight down at the road, it looks fast. And then I just jumped."

Etienne crashed the car into a ditch and was arrested shortly after.

And though she did nothing wrong, Griffith is now stuck without her car. The company that towed her car after the crash is keeping it until she pays a bill of more than $500.

"I’m not mad at them. I understand having a business and they did take the time and resources to get my car out so they deserve to be paid. It’s just... I don’t want to be the one to pay it," Griffith said.

Griffith said police told her it's a loophole in the system that the victim is the one who usually has to pay, and then try to get the money back by suing for it.

With the damage to the van, which only cost $900 to buy, and the cost of a lawyer to file a lawsuit, her family says they'll likely leave the van with the tow company. They say it's just not worth the money and the trouble.

"The guy who did it should be the one to pay for it. Unfortunately, we all know he’s not going to" said Griffith.

To help get a new "used" car and pay her medical bills, her family started a GoFundMe page.

"We don’t want to be better off, we just want to back where we were before this happened" said Shelby's mom Jane Bartlett. "Nobody wants to get stuck with the bill. But I know exactly where the bill belongs."

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