My next speaker is Brandy Watters. I met this young lady through Curtis. I tell you what, when I heard her story, I just cringed as well because this lady’s been through an awful lot, and here she is today, strong, giving out to other people. She does all kinds of things to encourage others to keep themselves safe. She works for, tell me the place again, Brandy, that you go and volunteer for? The GJPD, the victim’s advocate.
Thank you, Brandy.
Yes, okay; first and foremost, I will start with what many people have asked me. While I know why I do this, and so everybody knows, it’s a self-care mechanism that I use. It’s called Tapping, so I see nods and my dad, who’s in the audience. He needs to learn what Tapping is. So tapping clears your body from anything.
So it usually gets stuck in your brain with any trauma, and it’s like this little molecule with all these spikes on. It starts in the brain, and it goes through your body, and then wherever, if you don’t clear your body, it gets hung up, and I believe in that. It’s interesting.
So there are tapping points by the eye, below the eye, and then the chin. You see that on top of the head, the collarbone, and then the thick part of your hand here, and so it’s like the karate chop. You know the karate chops, so you’ll see me doing this often.
I’ve learned this through Klemmer, which is personal development and Leadership. So that’s why I do that. I have a very traumatic story, and if you guys want to tap, feel free to. You won’t interfere with me by all means, so we just celebrated Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day is coming up, and many of you have children.
If you were to get a message in the middle of the night saying I was kidnapped and held at gunpoint. What would you do? My parents got that call from me. It would have been January 11th, but this incident, no, was January 10th of 2020.
I was an Uber driver. I got kidnapped and held at gunpoint here in Grand Junction. Before I go into that story, a bit of my back story is, I had just back in 2016-17. I’m sorry, 2016 and 17, which doesn’t sound right, got my years mixed up. I had left shoulder surgery in 2016, left foot surgery in 2018, and another shoulder surgery. My right shoulder surgery was in 2019. So in January 2019, I had the surgery, and I chose Uber to drive to make money here in Grand Junction, and that was in April.
I just bought this car and created funds to get it, a Toyota CHR. It’s a cool car; the handles on the car’s back end are up high. So when people try to get into the car, you know, when they’re drunk or something, they hit the car, and it’s like there are four doors for them to find. I’ve always loved to have fun when I was driving Uber if you’ve ever seen Cash Cab. Has anybody seen Cash Cab? Okay, so I was the fun Uber. I wanted to have fun, so I had these little rubber duckies that had little dollar bills stuck in their head, so it looked like they had a mohawk, and then I had glow-in-the-dark necklaces.
I was driving at night most of the time, and then I had fishing lures for guys. What else did I have? Oh, candy bracelets, because I would pick up a lot of college students and, you know, a lot of other things, so it was fun.
I had all these little mechanisms and stuff, so the night of January 10th of, 2020. It was just a complete day. I started my job at four o’clock in the afternoon, and I was driving, picking people up, and having great experiences, and I was like, oh, that’s a great experience. You know, all this other stuff was seven months beforehand. I want to say that just shortly after I started driving Uber, I had an incident over by the old Community Hospital over by CMU, where I collided with a human being, and the human being stepped in front of my car. We collided seven months, just before this kidnapping happened. I felt like I just got over that, and then I was driving along, and on that night, January 10th of, 2020, I called my mom.
It was 11:30 at night or 11 o’clock, and I was sitting over by the old Traders coffee shop parking lot and the liquor store across the street from St Mary’s Hospital. I was hanging out there, and I got this ping on my phone for a ride in Fruita, and it was by a guy named Jake, and I said: hey Mom, I’m going to have to let you go; I love you; I know you’re getting ready to go to bed. Have a great night, and she’s like you too, just be careful, and I said okay. She was one of my contacts on my Uber, where I said, okay, you can follow my ride, and I had another friend here in town that was on my contacts as well. They would get up in the middle of the night and check on me while I was driving, so we let each other go, and I was heading out to Fruita to pick up this gentleman named Jake. And I got to his house, and I pulled up, and Jake’s not out there, and then his neighbor was right on the side of me, and he’s like, Hey, who are you waiting for, and I said I don’t know, a guy named Jake, and he’s like, Oh, okay, and I said, Are you doing okay and he’s like yeah. Shortly after, this kid came out, and I parked right next to his house, or his mom’s house, and I expected him to get in the back seat of my car, and he actually went around the car and said hi to his neighbor and talked chit-chatted for just a second, and then he got in right behind me in my driver’s side. I was like, that’s odd, so you know, we had a conversation and was like: Hey, how long have you lived in Fruita? We were chit-chatting back and forth; his destination was Quincy’s bar on Main Street. So I said, hey do you want to go on 6 and 50, or do you want to take the interstate and he said either is fine, and I said okay, so we drove and took the interstate and then got off by the mall and got to Quincy’s. I said: You know, sir, You have a great night. Just remember, if you exit the vehicle out of the right-hand side, you’re fine, but if you go into the street, you’re going to get hit by a vehicle, so just be careful, and he paused, and he said, Can you take me somewhere else? I said I can take you anywhere you want to go, and where do you want to go? And he said, Well, I need to get to 25th and the Sinclair Gas Station, and I said okay. I said, Well, I just completed the ride; we need to do something here either you need to ping me back, or you need to tip me well, and he was like him hauling in the back seat, and he was fumbling over his phone, and he didn’t know what to do. And I sat there in my car for just a minute, and then I said. Still, if you ping somebody else, you’ll have to get out of my car and get into somebody else’s vehicle, another Uber – and I said, Ubers – are driving like crazy all over Main Street. So I went to Seventh and Ute and drove by the police station. And then I got back on Colorado and Third Avenue, and I stayed there and paused and asked, ” Is it you? Are you pinging me and he said no, I’m still trying to work things out and I said okay, so we were hanging out there for a minute, and then I said: Okay, I’m going to go ahead and drive, I’m turning the Uber app off so I don’t get pinged.
Because it’s bad if I start denying other rides, I turned the Uber app off and said, create a win-win and make it right with, you know, go ahead and tip me for that. And he was stalling, so I took Highway 6 and 50 to 25 Road and over by the Discount Tire and headed to Sinclair on Patterson, and there was nothing. Everything was fine, and then I went straight, and then I went to F and a half road, which is that medical center, and then there’s Spectrum, and there’s Excel Energy. So F and a half Road went around, and I said, Look, sir, you’re wasting my time and my energy, I’m taking you back to Quincy’s, and so I took him back to Quincy’s over by Sam’s Club. Then we hit First Street and North Avenue. I went all the way to seventh and then onto Main Street. I pulled up and said, Well, sir, again, have a great night. He asked me if I was carrying a gun, and this was the conversation; I said no, I’m not. I need my job, and Uber frowns on anybody carrying a gun. I turned back in my seat and I looked back at him. I said (just smarty-like), ” Well, sir, are you carrying a gun and he said yes. That’s when he racked the slide of a semi-automatic right behind me. Hence, my brain went into: Oh no. What do I do? I was conversing with him, but the conversation went into fear. It was just a regular chit-chat. A conversation like, what are you doing went to: What’s going on here? Why are you doing this? He’s like, I’m split, I’m split, and I said, well, what does that mean, and then I don’t know if he was pointing a gun at my head behind me or the seat. I had some mace, some pepper spray in my door, and that was it, so I was like, well, and I didn’t say anything to him. So we had this conversation, and he said; We do need to get to 25 Road in Sinclair Gas Station, and I forgot how to drive my car. I had no idea what to do, and he said; I’ll tell you where we need to go. We need to go this route, so we got to First Street, and then we went up to Patterson, and then he was telling me where to drive, how to drive – and I said, Hey, why don’t I go to the CNF right here, and you can walk across to the Sinclair Gas Station? He said; No, I need you to come with me, this situation happened before with another person, and you needed to come with me. I said; I don’t want to be a part of this situation.
My brain was still trying to go like a Rolodex. My brain was fumbling through, like a Rolodex just figuring it out. What do I do? What do I do? We turned right on 24, I’m sorry, 25 drove into the Sinclair Gas Station, and I said, this is ridiculous, so I turned back on the Uber app, and that just gave my mom and dad an idea where my location was – and I turned on my dome light and I said; You know whatever you need, and he’s like; Turn it off right now! I said: Okay, okay. So I turned off everything, and then I almost passed out three different times on our way, and he said to me right after I turned off the dome light. He said; We are going to the desert. It will take us 10 minutes to get there, and everything will be all over. So my brain was still panicking; what do I do? What do I do? How do I get this person out of my car? So we got to G Road, and of course, my brain was going like crazy, and I already knew when G-road hit, then I was going to be done, and I don’t know what else was out there. I don’t know what subdivisions, I don’t know what homes, but I know the desert’s not very far from G Road, so we get to G Road, and I took off my seatbelt, and I thought, I’m about to pass out, and I was starting to see spots. He was just like: Pull over, pull over.
This kid was 23 years old. 23. You guys are 23 years old. When I was 23, I was looking to buy a house. I was trying to build a house, not take somebody’s life, so we pulled over and gave him my keys. I kept my keys in the door handle, gave him my keys, and said; leave me alone. Take my car. He said; I don’t want your car, and then I grabbed my keys and put it back, and I said, ” Oh no, my brain said he wants you, ” so I was just thumbing through. My car is a 2019 model. It’s a sensor car, and, of course, with sensors, you know, the seat belt sensor that if you don’t have your seat belt on, it just starts digging. I knew little about this car because I just purchased it and had no idea of any of the sensors. So he said; You need to put both hands on the steering wheel. We need to take off right now. We need to go to the desert. I said: Okay, okay. I put both hands on the steering wheel.
My water bottle is old, just a Pedialyte bottle filled with water, so I had it next to me, and I have several of these. So I had it next to me, and so my brain knew what to do, and this quote I saw on Facebook, and to this day I remember it, says: If you don’t like something, take it away; it’s only Power your attention. So that was thumbing through my brain, and that’s what I needed to do. My brain also thought it needed a witness and 911, so a car went around the roundabout, and I was just past it. I saw another car coming out of the fountains onto the road on 25 Road – and I said, Okay; my brain was spinning like crazy and said: do I need to head on into that person, or what do I need to do, and I said no, no, no, I don’t want to create any injuries or anything, and I was like, okay, I’m a life insurance agent too, I have a living benefit, life insurance agent, the new style of life insurance, and, I said, oh great, I said if I get in a coma, I’m covered, my house is covered, I have a will. I have a living will. All this stuff was happening, and my brain was going like a Rolodex, so I grabbed my water. Well, first, I always forget this part. First, I checked the door lock to make sure it was unlocked. I put my water between my legs, unscrewed it with my right hand on the steering wheel, and then switched hands. I put the bottle of water in my right hand, grabbed the steering wheel in my left, and dumped all the water behind me onto him, creating a pause in his OODA Loop or brain. He had no idea what to do, and then I opened the door and jumped out of my car while it was still moving, so it was about 30, I want to say about 30 to 40 miles an hour. It was about 40 miles an hour, and when you take your foot off the gas, you slow down pretty well, so I jumped out and rolled out of my car while it was still rolling, and his door was locked. But in my brain, I kept thinking that he would square up and shoot me, and so I said, I’m, you know, peaceful.
I checked my body and yelled for help in front of this car, so I was surprised I didn’t get hit. Still, I was like, I’m covered if I get hit, so I’d rather let me go under a coma, you know, let me get in that’s my way out, so I ran back behind me, and I went to the closest house that I could find. I knocked on the front door with no answer – and I was like, somebody helps me, somebody helps me, and so I went to the back door and checked the door handle. You know your brain doesn’t know what it doesn’t know, and I wasn’t trying to get into their house, but even if I broke in, I’m like, I don’t care, I’m a crazy lady, you know, and so they kept looking at me through their glass. It was a husband and wife, and I don’t know if they were done showering, but they were putting on their clothes, and they were like, where’s your phone? And I’m like. I don’t have it. Why can’t you call? I can’t. I don’t have a phone. Where are your shoes? They’re gone, you know, like, help me call 9-1-1. These people, I swear, did not help me at all, and it was rough. It was so rough, and I didn’t know if he was chasing after me. My kidnapper, I had no idea what was going on.
So he came outside, and he was asking me all these questions, and he peeked around the outside of his house, and he leaned out, and he’s like, Well, there are the cops, and I’m like, sweet peace out, and so I jetted, and I ran to the cops the best I could mind you that I had foot surgery in 2018, and I have no shoes on. My toes are fused, so I’m walking on this gravel rock in January. Whatever, I’m surprised I didn’t land in a ditch myself. God was with me, man. He was with me through everything, and I was sixty thousand dollars in debt. I was trying to drive Uber. I was making forty-five hundred dollars a month. Half went to my bills, and half went to maintenance for Uber fuel tires oil changes. I was trying to sell my house, trying to move my situation. I was generally slammed with life, and I swear it’s amazing. I love this. He brought me down to surrendering, and He’s like, I got you, I got you and my debt, everything else. I’m like, No, I’m good. I don’t need any of it. I need trust. I trusted Him, so He got me through that situation, and I’m alive.
The police officer was there, the lady in the vehicle that I jumped in front of, and she was there. She had a six-year-old daughter in the back seat of her car. So if I had hit head-on into her, who knows what would have happened? So Adam, well, Adam Salas is his name. He went by Jake. He was a false identity. He got out of the car and was talking to her. Needless to say, I had no idea what he would have done if he shot them with a gun. Anyway, the cops and the officer were there. They arrived shortly after, and my witness was there, brought me my shoes and the whole case, and headed down to the police department, and we did that. Adam Salaz took my car. He took it to New Mexico and came to find out, so the result was the next day.
I had these headlines pop all over the place, and, of course, my communication; my phone was gone. My wallet was gone, everything was gone, it was with the car. I was also looking for another job simultaneously, so I had passwords. I had like four pages of passwords to everything I owned in the car that he was driving. I had headlines keep popping up, and of course, I posted it on Facebook, and I said, Hey if anybody sees my car around town, I’m missing a car, and these headlines came up that just that next day and of course. I was so tired, and I was staying with a friend. The headlines were Grand Junction. Uber drivers survived the kidnapping attempt. Grand Junction Uber driver escapes armed would-be kidnapper by jumping out of a moving car. Captured kidnapping suspect in Colorado, who reportedly held a female Uber driver at gunpoint and told her to drive to the desert. Police were looking for the man who kidnapped the Uber driver. Suspect in custody after kidnapping Uber driver in Grand Junction. I mean, these were all over the news, and I was so shocked, and I didn’t know what to do, and it was just like I just wanted to be left alone. It was like, I’m dirty, I feel dirty, I feel violated, I feel you know what you do, and then, as the healing started, it started getting my life back together.
My parents, what would you do if you didn’t have parents, um? I love them; they took a flatbed trailer to New Mexico and picked up my car. Adam Salaz went down to his brother’s house because that’s what he knew, what he needed to do, and his brother turned him in, and so yeah, Adam Saleh got arrested in New Mexico. Then they held him until he was transported to Mesa County in 2020, or was it 2020 or 2021? We didn’t go to court, and it wasn’t over until March of 2022, so we went through a little over a year ago, and he got sentenced. The state attorney was there. The district attorney represented me. He did get sentenced to 10 years. His line of charges against him was exactly how I wanted them to be, but the time frame, I mean, How do you determine how much time somebody gets in your life? You know, I told the judge, I stood up and told the judge; I’m great with instant gratification. You know, a Town Square hanging. Let’s do this, or do you want to steal something off with your arm? You know you want to do this to somebody off with your leg or let’s go back to those days. Not your taxpayer dollars are spent away. So obviously, we couldn’t do that. So right now, he is in Colorado Springs serving time. There will be a time when he gets out, and I’m looking forward to that time. I have no ill feelings for him. I know he has a family that loves him and brothers and sisters who love him, and we all make bad choices. This is one of his choices. I don’t know his choices once he gets out, but I’m willing to step forward and see if he could stand with me at one particular time in a conference because we both can heal each other.
I do want to add something if I can. I’ll add something real quick. I want to add that there were four Ring camera footage of this incident, and I know there’s a lot of trauma. There’s no blood or any of that, but if anybody wants to see the footage, I have one particular video, and it’s like maybe a minute and a half, and a friend of mine was like, Oh, this is you? And I said what do you mean? She said; This is you. I said; What do you mean? She said; My Ring camera was outside my house, and it caught your entire kidnapping. I said; What? She said; Yes, and would you like this, and I said; Nope, but my Detective does. I was not ready to see or be any part of that information. I do want to add that I did go to intensive therapy. Well, a therapist and a counselor said that my body did exactly what it was designed to do then. And this body did exactly what it was designed to do then.
I have no ill feelings because I’m complete, you know, I’m alive. How do you walk away without having any ill feelings? I also started a prison project with Clemmer and Associates while he was in jail due to covid. That was stalled. Unfortunately, if anybody wants to see the Ring camera, you can hear when I say help and run in that direction. You can see that I roll out of the vehicle. So I thank you.