October 18, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 42

Two Haines women menaced in Juneau

Two Haines women said they felt threatened by a motorist who came at them early Sunday morning at the Costco parking lot in Juneau.

To make a ferry connection after buying a new car earlier in the weekend, Sierra Jimenez, mother-in-law Susan Tandy, and Jimenez’s infant son went at 4:30 a.m. to the lot to retrieve a family pickup truck they needed to bring to Haines.

Jimenez was about to get out of their new, Jeep Patriot when a young man driving an older-model SUV pulled up beside her in the empty lot. “It was out of nowhere. He stared at me. I stared at him. It was enough to get a bad vibe.”

Jimenez tried locking the Jeep’s doors, but couldn’t find the lights. She started driving away when the SUV driver reversed and drove out of view. The two women remained in the Jeep, considering their next move, when they saw the SUV again, a few hundred feet away, facing them from across a street and a grass divider, in the parking lot of a car wash.

The SUV then drove at them, jumping the curb of the divider and coming within 30 feet of the Jeep before Jimenez steered for a parking lot exit. She also called police on a cell phone, telling them her location and that she was being chased by a “crazy person.”

A dispatcher told them to drive to the police station about a half-mile away. The SUV followed the Jeep until the turnoff for the station, Jimenez and Tandy said.

Jimenez said she was disappointed with the response from police. “I don’t understand why they didn’t send somebody (to the parking lot). If they sent someone right away, they would have caught him.”

Police also questioned whether Jimenez might have known or previously encountered the SUV driver, she said. Jimenez said she didn’t recognize the man and had seen no other cars on the early morning drive from downtown to Lemon Creek.

Police provided an escort for the women back to the parking lot and out to the ferry terminal.

Juneau police Sgt. David Wrightson, who reviewed a police report on the matter, said it didn’t indicate Jimenez was being chased. Wrightson said he didn’t believe the incident was part of a larger pattern of crime in the area. “I’ve never heard of it happening before.”

Jimenez and Tandy think foul play was afoot. “I have no doubt in my head, he had a weapon and was going to rob us,” Tandy said.

Jimenez said the incident has changed her attitude toward the Capital City. “I lived there 10 years and never had anything threatening happen. It’s changed everything about Juneau for me.”