Woman wakes up in car to find stranger driving, deputies say

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Wis. — A woman, who had been asleep in the backseat of a car, awoke to a terrifying situation when she discovered a strange man was driving the vehicle and she didn’t know where they were going.

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The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that the woman had been asleep in the backseat of the car while her family went into a gas station. The woman called 911 just before 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 14 to say that she was in a car “being driven by an unknown male and she did not know where they were going.” The victim told 911 that the driver would not let her get out of the car and he was speeding.

In a criminal complaint obtained by WMTV, the victim said that the suspect said he was a truck driver and that there was “a conspiracy and that people wanted to kill them so he was saving her.” The suspect also allegedly told her “that if her husband was worried about her, he would be calling, but he’s not calling because he’s already dead.”

A deputy located the vehicle at 4:05 a.m. and managed to stop the vehicle using tire deflation devices. Deputies said the driver “continued to attempt to evade law enforcement driving on the vehicle rims after losing the tires.” The vehicle left the road and hit several objects before stopping in a parking lot.

The driver was identified as Kyle Wagner, 51, from New York. Deputies said in the news release that Wagner was believed to be under the influence of a controlled substance.

“The victim did a tremendous job of observing and then describing physical characteristics along the roadway to allow law enforcement to determine her location,” Captain Todd Horn told WMTV. “She would call out road names, road signs and other features that led law enforcement to locate her and the suspect vehicle.”

Wagner was charged with a list of crimes, including false imprisonment, felony eluding and reckless driving.

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