Gastonia man charged with three counts of kidnapping - | WBTV Charlotte

Gastonia man charged with kidnapping after leading police on chase


The man accused of kidnapping three women and leading police on a chase went before a judge today.

46-year old Freddie Lee Byrd is being on $500,000 bond.

US 321 at the intersection with Interstate 85 closed for several hours Thursday after the police chase ended in a crash.

It started off as a kidnapping.

Robin, who didn't want her last name used, told WBTV she met Byrd a couple of months ago.

She says she and her daughter were about to leave the house Thursday afternoon, when Byrd showed up and said he would go with them

According to Robin, moments after they got into the car, Byrd pulled out a knife and told them to drive to East 4th Avenue.

The women said Byrd took the keys, got out of the car and assaulted Rufus Hawkins, and got back into the car.

The women said, again at knife point, he told them to drive to another street - where Byrd allegedly grabbed another woman he knows - Pamela Smart -  put her in the car, and started stabbing her.

"We were begging him to stop. He wouldn't" said Robin.

The women said Byrd was apparently upset about a missing cell phone, and he thought Smart took it.

The victims said Byrd continued to force them to drive around. The said at every stop he made, he kept at least one victim in the car - and threatened her life. They said no one could get away because they were afraid he would hurt the others.

One of the women suggested going to a convenience store.

They stopped at Kingsway, at the corner of Airline and Gaston Avenue.

"When I went to the store, I told them we were kidnapped" said the other victim who didn't want her name used.

Store surveillance video shows her walking down a store aisle and the clerk following her.

The clerk told WBTV she wanted to make sure she heard the woman correctly.

When the victim repeated she was kidnapped, another store employee called 9-1-1.

The clerk tried to stall.

"She was taking her time, ringing me up and stuff."

Police showed up moments later.

The woman said when an officer told Byrd "I'm going to shoot", Byrd allegedly responded "you're going to have to shoot" and drove off.

During his court appearance - via a video monitor from the Gaston County Jail - Byrd told the Judge "was nobody never kidnapped. When she came out, police showed up around me started pulling guns then that's when I flee."

Meanwhile, Robin- who was still in the car when Byrd took off - said "after police pulled the gun - we were going 100 miles down Airline, going the wrong way, police coming at us. He said  we're all going to die. This is your day. We're all dying. Me and the girl started screaming."

Byrd then hit a road sign.

"When he hit that sign, I jumped out of the car" said Robin. "I was thinking I gotta get out the car, gotta get out of this car. I jumped out of the car."

Byrd crashed shortly after that on Highway 321 near I-85.

The force of the crash took down several power lines and knocked out power to the area near Marietta Street. Even the Gaston County Jail was forced to run off generator power, county communications said.

Power was restored a short time later, however officials said four transformers that had blown would have to be repaired sometime Friday.

All of the people involved were taken the hospital.

Smart, the third woman who was kidnapped, is still recuperating.

Byrd was treated and later transported to jail.

He's facing three counts of kidnapping, assault and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Byrd was just released from jail last month after being charged with larceny of a car, and assault on a female.

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