Kyle Gosnell, 37, of Lawrenceville, Illinois, was arrested and charged with false imprisonment.
Jauan Cartagena of Clarksville was on his way home from school Tuesday evening when his tire blew on Interstate 24 eastbound just past Exit 1.
Within a few minutes, someone pulled off the road to help him.
“It had just started raining, and I was on the side of the road in the fast lane, and (Gosnell) pulled over, and he offered to help,” Cartagena told Clarksville Now.
The popped tire was a spare, leaving Cartagena without a way to get his car off the interstate. So Gosnell offered to drive him to a nearby auto parts retailer for a new tire.
Cartagena got in the car. On the way to the store, Gosnell’s passenger, Brittany Webb, struck up a conversation with Cartagena about a car she had crashed once, and said she wanted to show him a photo of it on her phone.
“So when she gave me the phone to show me the picture, it had a message on it saying that they had basically got in the car just to chill, and he was driving and got on the interstate. When she realized that he wasn’t stopping, she asked him where he was going; that was when he had got violent and threw her ID out the window,” Cartagena said.
Gosnell had told Webb that if she was going to run, he was going to hurt her, according to Cartagena.
The pair had been driving nonstop for four hours. They had come from Illinois, and had only stopped in Clarksville to help Cartagena.
Webb then said, “Here’s another picture of the car,” and typed out her phone number to show Cartagena. He said he took a picture of her number, and then texted her asking what she wanted him to do.
As Gosnell drove back to Interstate 24 to return Cartagena to his disabled car, things got frightening.
“Right before we were getting back on the interstate, I’m thinking, ‘What can I say, what can I do?’ to not get back on the interstate. Because if we get back on the interstate, who’s to say that he was going to stop?” Cartagena told Clarksville Now.
With some quick thinking, Cartagena decided to ask if they could stop somewhere for him to use the bathroom, and Gosnell agreed. He pulled into the Dollar General at 3855 Trenton Road.
“That was when I went inside and called the police and let them know,” Cartagena said.
A few minutes later, Gosnell followed him in and went toward the prepaid cell phone section.
“When he was coming in, I was on the phone with the operator running the details, and you know Dollar General is quiet, so I walked outside and continued talking to the operator,” Cartagena said.
By the time Cartagena walked outside, Webb had already left the car, and she had taken off running. At this same moment, a Clarksville Police officer was pulling into the parking lot.
“I think they had seen her running around the back of the store. I was trying to flag them down to let them know I was the person who called. (The officer) ran (around) the back of the store, and I followed him because the guy’s still in the store, and he’s the only cop there at the time,” Cartagena said.
Eventually more police showed up, and Gosnell was arrested as he was leaving the store. Officers found Webb at the back of the store, where she was hiding.
This wasn’t the first time that day Cartagena had popped a tire. On his way to school, he popped a tire and changed it with the spare. On his way home from school, the spare blew out.
“I’ve been driving since I was 16. This is my ninth car, and I have never blown a tire out ever.”
To make the timing more odd, Cartagena had missed the exit he was supposed to be taking. The tire blew just as he realized he was supposed to be getting off the interstate.
“Thank God (Gosnell) stopped, because had he not, I don’t know what could have happened with her,” Cartagena said.
According to arrest records obtained by Clarksville Now, Webb told police that Gosnell had picked her up in Lawrenceville, Illinois.
During the four-hour drive from Illinois, Webb told police she asked Gosnell to let her out “in excess of 15 times.”
Gosnell told police Webb had agreed to go with him to Florida, and he said he didn’t prevent her from leaving.
The police took Webb to a hotel and helped her get a room since Gosnell had disposed of her ID. Cartagena said other residents in Clarksville reached out to him and asked how to help Webb, adding that they’ve assisted with hotel expenses, cash and clothing.
“I really think I was supposed to be there to help her,” Cartagena said.
The Clarksville Police Department declined to comment since the investigation is still ongoing.