Police: Southgate man, 69, escaped kidnap plot by 17-year-old girlfriend

"I thought this was going to be my last car ride," says a 69-year-old man. "My own personal car was going to be my hearse."

Police say the Southgate man was the victim of a plan to be robbed and kidnapped, set up by his 17-year-old girlfriend and two men in their 30s.

The night of Jan. 2 police say the man's girlfriend, Destiny Marie Gerwatowski, came up with the plan with suspects Alphonso Lamarr Straughter Jr., 31, of Dearborn, and Tajick Lewis Jackson, 36, of River Rouge.

"After they got my wallet, they were ticked off because there was only $90 in my wallet," the man says. That's when he says the attack became more vicious.

"They threw me in the trunk of my car and started backing out the driveway," he says.

As the victim was locked in the trunk, his prayers were answered when he found a lighter. He used it to find the emergency trunk release.

"God finally answered a prayer about the lighter," he says. "I flicked it on and found the inside trunk release and when I felt the car creep forward I bailed out onto the right lane on Dix Toledo."

The victim says once he was able to free himself, he ran across the highway to a liquor store to call 911.

"(Officers) eventually were able to determine who the suspects were within two days," says Southgate Police Chief Thomas Coombs. "All people were arrested and in custody." 

Gerwatowski, Straughter and Jackson are locked up facing charges including carjacking, armed robbery, home invasion and unlawful imprisonment. 

Despite being 17, Gerwatowski is being charged as an adult.

All three could face up to life in prison. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16.

Battered and bruised, the victim says he's happy to be alive - but has a message for his ex-girlfriend.

"How do you like me now," he says. "Because I'm not supposed to be here, and you are looking at life in prison."

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