Good Samaritan, 26, Faces Paralysis After She Was Pistol Whipped and Sexually Assaulted by Man Who She Gave a Lift to Hospital
Ashley Collman, Daily Mail (London), January 6, 2014
A 26-year-old Florida woman may never walk again after her kind gesture to offer a stranger a ride to the hospital turned into a nightmare attack that has ruined her life.
Tallahassee-resident Katie Schlinger told her traumatic story to MailOnline, revealing details about the night she offered to drive a stranger to the hospital before ‘he physically and sexually attacked her’.
Ms Schlinger says she fought back and escaped with her life, but two spinal surgeries later, she still can’t use her right arm or walk on her own. And since she’s uninsured, she already owes one hospital $250,000 and is about to be kicked out of a third.
It all goes back to December 20 when Ms Schlinger was in Aiken, South Carolina, to support her brother as he underwent open heart surgery at Aiken Regional Medical Center.
She was smoking a cigarette in the car at the nearby Quality Inn around 4am when she was approached by 23-year-old Michael Antwon Fuller who asked her for a cigarette and the two started talking about their relatives in the hospital.
Fuller told her he was worried about his uncle at the hospital and wondered if she wouldn’t mind driving him up there so he could see him.
‘Yeah I’ll give you a ride if you promise not to hurt me,’ she joked, agreeing to drive him since the hospital was only four minutes away and Fuller was clean cut, well-spoken and well dressed.
‘Who could hurt that precious face?’ Ms Schlinger recalls him responding.
As they drove up to the hospital, Ms Schlinger began to turn into the main entrance but Fuller told her it was a different entrance. The second entrance was the emergency entrance and he told her not to turn there either, she told MailOnline.
From there the road went pitch black and when Ms Schlinger turned to tell him she didn’t think there was another entrance, he allegedly hit her face with the mouth of his gun.
Ms Schlinger says she started to cry and begged him to take her car or her money, but she says he told her to just keep driving and hit her on the head with his pistol.
She agreed and started driving but slowly moved her hand to the door handle. She hit the gas right before she opened the door and hurled herself out of the moving vehicle.
By the time she stopped rolling and got up, Fuller had somehow put the car in park and caught up with her, she said.
Outside of the car, she says he pointed his gun at her and forced her to perform oral sex.
‘I kept begging him not to rape me,’ she said. Hoping to save herself, she offered to drive him to an ATM and give him all the money in her bank account.
‘I lied and told him I had thousands of dollars in my bank account. I didn’t have thousands of dollars,’ she said.
‘I knew if I kept driving I was going to die, so I put the car in reverse and aimed for the emergency hospital area.’
According to Ms Schlinger, Fuller tried to stop her, continuing to hit her on the head with his pistol before moving over onto her lap to try to control the car.
The two were fighting over the wheel and the car propelled into a tree, totalling the $8,000 Dodge Durango she just paid off.
Even though the crash happened right in front of the hospital, no one seemed to notice the crash so when she came to, Schlinger was still alone in the car with Fuller–trapped underneath him from their struggle.
She says it took nearly half an hour to move his weight off her without waking him. She decided it was safer to climb out the window than open the door which she thought would wake him up as well.
After falling out of the car she crawled to a bush to hide, and eventually a car went by that brought her to the hospital.
While Schlinger was being treated at the hospital, police arrived on the scene and found Fuller still in the car, semi-conscious with the pistol.
Fuller was arrested and is facing charges of kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct, unlawful carrying of a pistol and possession of a weapon with the commission of a crime.
Ms Schlinger, who is still recovering from the accident at a rehabilitation center, describes the experience as horrific and says she still continually wakes up with night terrors.
‘It’s been awful. It’s been the most painful, traumatic experience of my life. The man ruined my life,’ she said.
But it was just the beginning of the nightmare. Doctors treated Ms Schlinger at Aiken before transferring her to MCG Health Systems in Augusta, Georgia where she underwent two spinal surgeries.
At first, doctors said she would never be able to walk again and though there’s now hope that she’ll regain some of that movement, at the very least she’ll have to carry a cane for the rest of her life.
Because she is uninsured, she was dismissed from the second hospital but her victim advocate was able to secure her transfer to a $2,000 a day rehab facility for a free 10 day stay which she started on Friday.
Schlinger says she was told she needs at least four months of rehab to regain skills like writing again, but has to do as much as she can with the 10 days she has.
‘I can’t write, I can’t dress myself, I can’t do anything, I can’t brush my teeth by myself, I have to relearn,’ she said. It also doesn’t help that she won’t soon be able to go back to her job at a storage facility, since she can’t type or move.
She hasn’t gotten the bill from the Aiken hospital yet, but the total for MCG is already 250,000.
Friends and family have started an online campaign to raise $100,000 to cover some of her medical bills. As of early Sunday, they had raised over $9,000 of that goal.
[Editor’s Note: Miss Schlinger would have benefited from hearing John Derybshire’s “talk”, particularly points (10h) and (10i).]