NEW ORLEANS —
It happened in a matter of seconds.
Just before 11:30 p.m. Friday, one car cut off another at Bancroft Drive and Prentiss Avenue in Gentilly.
Two men hopped out.
“Get out! Get out! Get out!” they shouted.
The woman, who was behind the wheel of the car that was cut off, pleads with the man, but they force her out at gunpoint.
Tires squeal and the two cars race away.
The terrified woman runs to a home and beats on the door, frantically asking for someone to help.
The lights were burning bright late into the night as the family inside celebrated a birthday.
It was a moment of luck in an otherwise unlucky night for the victim.
"At first, we had no idea what was going on,” said one of the family members inside the home where the victim ran, noting that no one heard the crime as it happened. “We couldn't even really get information from her because she was hysterical. When we did realize what was happening, we were all very shaken up about it."
That family member asked to not be identified out of concerns for her safety.
Neighbors on the street said the victim in this case told them she had gone for a drive to clear her mind but soon realized she was being followed. They said she drove down Bancroft to try to escape from the men who trailed her from the lakefront but hit a dead end.
“She went down to the cul-de-sac, turned back around and came back up to the stop sign. And that was where they cut her off,” said the member of the family who would eventually help the victim.
Police on Monday said they had made no arrests in the case, but they are investigating if another carjacking minutes later in the 3900 block of Paris Avenue might be related.
The family that helped the victim said they were unnerved by what happened, but they’re also glad it wasn’t any worse.
“Her husband was able to get to our house quickly, as well as the police, so she was able to calm down and catch her breath after a little bit,” one of the family members said. “But she was -- it was sad to see somebody in that state.”