A fast food worker escaped without serious injury but his car was damaged during a bizarre incident last Sunday morning in Smithfield. It began on Buffalo Road near Smithfield Middle School and ended in front of the Smithfield Town Hall on Market Street.
Around 2:30am, a fast food employee had just dropped off a co-worker at their home and was headed down Buffalo Road to their residence. The man said he saw rocks in the roadway then a car in a ditch near the middle school. Thinking it was a car accident he stopped to help. He saw a man standing by the road and rolled down his passenger side window. The victim said the man opened the car door, got in the passenger seat and ordered the victim to drive away.
The victim complied. While traveling down Buffalo Road towards Smithfield, the suspect began grabbing the steering wheel. Each time the driver would attempt to slow his car, authorities said the suspect would turn his body towards the driver and clinch his fist.
The suspect continued to force the man to drive, eventually reaching Market Street (US 70). While traveling down Market Street near Fourth Street, the suspect snatched the steering wheel again, this time forcing the car off the roadway and into a fire hydrant.
The victim jumped from his car and ran to the Johnston County Courthouse to summon help.
Johnston County deputies and Smithfield Police were already on the way to the crash, after it was reported by an eyewitness. Authorities located the suspect, 42 year-old Fredrick Earl Sanders of the 3900 block of US70 West, Smithfield a short distance away.
Sanders was charged by deputies with felonious restraint and resisting arrest. He was jailed under a $35,000 bond.