BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama woman’s insulin pump saved her life last week, but not in a way she ever imagined.
Brittany Diggs, 25, was lying in the trunk of her own Nissan Altima just before midnight on March 14, hours after being kidnapped outside her apartment in Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood by a man wielding a gun. Diggs told “Today” that the gunman kept demanding her money.
Diggs, a nursing student, told him she was a “broke college student” and didn’t have anything.
“He was, like, since you don’t have any money, you’re going to help me get money,” Diggs told “Today.” “So he made me drive him to another side of town (and) he tried to rob two other couples.”
Watch Diggs’ “Today” interview below.
When that didn’t work, the man, who took Diggs’ phone and wallet, forced her into the trunk of the car and drove to multiple ATMs to use her debit card to get cash from her bank account. Hours into her captivity, he pulled into the parking lot of Gas Land in Bessemer.
Before getting out of the car, he made a threat that Diggs said he’d made multiple times through the night.
“(He said), ‘If this don’t work, I’m going to kill you,” Diggs said.
That’s when a panicked Diggs decided to make her move. She said she had seen a video on Facebook about latches inside the trunks of vehicles, a requirement by law since 2000.
“I just got the bright idea to use my insulin pump light,” Diggs told “Today.”
As the man was inside the store, unsuccessfully trying to get more cash from Diggs’ bank account, Diggs held onto the trunk latch and waited.
“He gets in, he’s yelling, he’s pulling out pretty fast, so I’m, like, ‘Oh, shoot, let me hurry up and get out of here,’” she said.
Footage from the convenience store’s exterior security cameras captured the moment that Diggs jumped from the moving car, landed hard on the pavement and stood, fleeing into the store. Her captor hit the brakes, but only for a moment, before fleeing in her car.
Cameras in the store showed Diggs taking cover inside as the owner, Yosef Alsabah, locked the door and called police. At one point, the visibly shaken woman grabbed a shotgun Alsabah kept in the store, fearful the man would come back.
The store owner took the gun from her and assured her the man was not coming back.
Alsabah told AL.com the day after the incident that the man tried several times to get cash out of the ATM in his store, but was trying to get more cash than was in the account. He said the man got frustrated and left.
He was watching the man drive away when he saw the trunk of the car pop open and Diggs roll out, Alsabah said.
Her car was recovered in Birmingham, but the suspect remains at large. Birmingham police officials released an image from surveillance video that shows the man’s face.
Diggs told “Today” that she is moving from her apartment because the suspect took not only her wallet and phone, but also her keys. A friend established a GoFundMe page to help her with the expenses of moving.
As of Monday morning, the page had raised over $16,000, more than double its $7,000 goal.
“I try to put it in the back of my head, so I can just, you know, get through the day,” a tearful Diggs said. “But that was, like, the scariest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.”