Usually, when Savannah Pritchett goes to work at the Triple R Gas and Mart in Waterford, California, she spends her hours ringing up customers, stocking shelves, and cleaning the bathrooms. She had no idea her job description would include “saving lives.”
On July 11, Savannah was standing behind the counter when a young woman walked into the store trembling with fear. She grabbed Savannah and her next words left the store clerk cold.
“The first thing she told me was, ‘I was kidnapped and they have guns. Please lock the door. They will kill us or kill me,’” Savannah recalled.
Without wasting a second, Savannah sprang into action. She ran over and locked the front door and then guided the terrified woman into the bathroom.
The woman explained that she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted and her assailants were planning to drive her to San Francisco. Desperate to escape, she told them she needed to use the restroom when they got to the gas station and went in looking for help. That’s when she found Savannah.
Savannah slipped the woman a phone before locking the bathroom door and then calmly unlocked the front door and went back behind the counter as if nothing had happened – just as the kidnappers came in looking for the woman.
“I knew that if I left the door locked they would have caught on to something and probably took off,” she said. “They seriously had no idea that I knew anything.”
Savannah told the men that the woman was in the bathroom dealing with her menstrual cycle, which distracted them long enough for police to arrive.
The four assailants, all of whom have local gang ties, were taken into custody. They will face trial for a variety of charges, including armed robbery, sexual assault, and kidnapping.
Many people have hailed Savannah as a hero, but she humbly denies the claim, saying, “I’m very thankful that I got to help that girl, and I am very thankful that she’s home safe with her family, and now I’m happy that they got those guys off the street.”
But if you ask law enforcement officials, Savannah deserves all the praise and more.
Said Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Tom Letras, “Her being able to get this victim into a secured restroom with a phone and being able to contact law enforcement very well may have saved [the victim’s] life.”
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