crimesider

Violent Carjacking Brings Women Together

STORY CONTRIBUTED BY CBS AFFILIATE WREG MEMPHIS

MEMPHIS (WREG) When Heather Fox was shot in a carjacking in 2007, Ashley Sanders tried her best to help the stranger who was bleeding to death. Fox paid the kind act forward Thursday, Oct. 1, when she watched Saunders receive her diploma from the Tennessee Technology Center.

Fox looked up at Sanders full of pride. The two hadn't met until two years ago, but they became fast friends after an event that changed both their lives.

On March 12, 2007 Fox stopped to offer a woman named Shani Butler a ride. Butler was holding a baby in her arms. She looked as if she needed help. Instead, once she was inside Fox's car, she pulled a gun and demanded to be taken to an ATM.

Fox stopped at a light, escaped, but not until after Butler shot her, leaving her bleeding in the street.

Drivers flew by, it seemed nobody was willing to help, until Ashley Sanders, who was 17 at the time stepped in. "I just said I don't know what do, but I"ll try to do what I seen on TV. I just opened her shirt and applied pressure to where I saw the blood coming from and it slowed and it stopped," said Sanders.

Doctors said Sanders actions saved Fox's life. "Her putting her hands on my chest and slowing the blood, it save my life. If not I would have bled out on the scene," Fox said during her recovery.

The two women eventually reunited, but instead of a quick hug and a thank you, they became life-long friends.

A teacher at the Tennessee Technology Center at Memphis saw their story on television, and eventually the school offered Sanders a full scholarship.

Fox set up a fund so Sanders wouldn't have to worry about living expenses as she learned to become pharmacy technician.

So there Fox sat Thursday night in the audience, watching her friend start a new life. Sanders calls Fox a mentor, she says it feels like their sisters. Fox calls Sanders her guardian angel.

Shani Butler eventually admitted to using her baby as bait in the carjacking, and was sentenced to 22 years in prison, 4 years supervised probation and must pay $143,000 in medical bills.

STORY CONTRIBUTED BY CBS AFFILIATE WREG MEMPHIS
  • Sammy Saltzman

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