Storm victim carjacked trying to find shelter

MEMPHIS (KTRE) - A storm victim who thought Memphis would be a safe place from Gustav was carjacked while asking for directions to a shelter.

Dominica Smith drove in from New Orleans with her three children and her friend.

They got lost and needed help, but they got something else.

"I would have never thought this would happen," Smith said.

Tears stremed down Smith's face as she shared her misfortune.
"You come up here to be safe from a storm and you end up in a worse situation than when you left home," Smith said.

Smith drove 12 hours from New Orleans to Memphis to escape Hurricane Gustav with her three children and friend Desiree Lawrence.

After getting lost, they stopped two men to ask for directions to a shelter.

In a flash, they carjacked them.

"Come up here and ask somebody where's the shelter and for them to carjack me at gunpoint, that's not right," Smith said.

"The way they pulled us out the car, I thought it was going to be like get out the car on the ground.  I thought we were about to lose our life," Lawrence said.

They said the hardest thing to stomach is the carjackers knew they were seeking shelter.

"They're not setting a good example for the people in their city," Lawrence said.

They had already endured Hurricane Katrina three years ago.

"We lost everything, so I wasn't taking chances. I wanted everything I could salvage and bring with us," Smith said.

That includes medicine for her children.

She had a plea for the carjackers.

"It's not worth much, but it's worth the world to me.  Just please bring me my stuff back, please," Smith said. Just leave it on the side of the road, anything so we can come get it.  Anything."

They do not know a soul in Memphis and do not know how they will get home.

Smith was driving a white Gallant with tinted windows and Louisiana license plate number RIE-878.