Deputies: 2 women charged with carjacking

Women suspected of shoplifting flee police, carjack driver on U.S. 17, deputies say

Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Hope Gibbons

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. - Two women suspected of shoplifting from a Fleming Island Kohl's fled from deputies and then carjacked a driver on U.S. 17 in Green Cove Springs, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

The women, 47-year-old Hope Gibbons and 28-year-old Tia Miller, were arrested Monday and charged with carjacking and false imprisonment.

Deputies said additional charges are pending regarding the alleged shoplifting incident at Kohl's.

The victim of the carjacking, Jennifer Ann Sanders, was not injured.

According to deputies, just after 5 p.m. Monday, the women reportedly stole items they placed inside their purses and fled Kohl's in a 2001 green Kia Rio with a North Carolina plate.

A deputy saw the Rio on U.S. 17, driving south toward Green Cove Springs, and attempted to pull it over.

The deputy reported that the driver, Gibbons, signaled she would pull over, while he could see the passenger, Miller, throwing clothes into the back seat and throwing what looked like price tags out of the front passenger window.

According to the police report, as they approached the intersection of Russell Road, Gibbons ran a red light, almost hit a white pickup truck and then hit the median, which busted the car's front passenger tire.

Gibbons kept driving and the deputy pursued and saw her pull into the parking lot of a Wendy's on U.S. 17 and then pull out of the parking lot of a Winn-Dixie and turn east onto County Road 315. At that point, the deputy was told to discontinue pursuit of the Rio, and he headed toward the Orange Park sub-station.

While driving back to Orange Park, the deputy spotted the Rio disabled on the side of the road and saw Gibbons and Miller running out into traffic and then stopping in front of a silver Toyota Venza, driven by Sanders.

Sanders stopped to avoid hitting the two women and then rolled down her passenger side window to see if they needed help.

The women then demanded that Sanders drive them to the hospital, Sanders told deputies. She said no but offered them her phone to call 911.

Gibbons and Miller then reached into her open window and unlocked the door as Sanders tried to lock the door from her side, Sanders said. They climbed into her car and told her to drive to the hospital.

Sanders told deputies she was scared for her life and didn't feel safe to get out of the car, so she began driving until she saw the deputy pull up behind her with his lights and sirens on and stopped.

The deputy said he pursued the Venza for about 100 yards before Sanders stopped and Gibbons and Miller were caught and arrested.

They are both being held in the Clay County Jail on $180,000 bond. Gibbons has an additional hold for unrelated charges out of South Carolina. 

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