SALINE COUNTY, Ark. – Tire tracks from Destiny Martin’s car can still be found off North Sardis Road in Saline Country, three weeks after the accident.
She was in the middle of her usual paper route delivering the Saline Courier when two men began following her, eventually ramming her off the road and spinning her around.
One suspect told police he believed the mysterious car stopping at mailboxes was trying to steal from him, a thought that prompted the early-morning chase.
Martin’s call to 9-1-1 conveys the fear she felt as she struggled to lose the two men keeping her locked between them. “He just hit me,” she says as the sound of an impact can be heard. “He just spun me all the way around.”
“I’ve got help coming, just stay on the phone with me, ok?” the dispatcher responds. The chaotic situation stemmed from a relatively normal night. On March 13th, Martin says she began her route like normal, dropping off papers to her usual customers around midnight.
But then she pulled into the driveway of Justin Ausbrooks. “He was backing into his driveway, and then he saw me,” Martin said, “and then he just turned out of his driveway and just started following me.”
Martin says Ausbrooks began tailing her through the rest of her paper route, eventually calling friend Chris Hall to join in the chase. The two joined forces to block Martin in, driving in front and behind her so she couldn’t get away.
“The Jeep [Hall} was trying to hit me, and the Dodge [Ausbrooks] was trying to break and slow me down,” Martin explains. After about 20 minutes, a terrified Martin called 9-1-1, moments before the chase turned physical.
“I’m doing a paper route right now and these people are trying to ram me or run me off the road,” Martin can be heard saying in the call recording. A few minutes later, she’s hit for the first time. “He just hit me, please help me” she begs the dispatcher. Martin says in that moment, she feared for her life.
“I pretty much believe that he was trying to kill me,” she said. “I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that that was going to happen.” She stayed on the line with first responders as her car spun out and ended up on the side of the road; but even after that, Ausbrooks and Hall continued the chase.
“I looked back in the rearview mirror, and then he spun his car around and came charging back up.”
Eventually, Martin was able to meet up with officers and lead them to Ausbrooks and Hall, who were both arrested.
They have been charged with several charges, including aggravated assault. Martin says she’s ok, but the terrifying situation will have lasting consequences.
“The only thing I see is headlights every time I close my eyes,” she said. Ausbrooks and Hall have their first court appearance at the end of this month.