South Carolina officer rescues woman mouthing "help me" during traffic stop

A police officer in South Carolina is being praised after her quick-thinking helped a woman who mouthed "help me" during a traffic stop. Her alleged kidnapper was wanted in a shooting nearby, police said. 

The North Myrtle Beach Police Department said Officer Kayla Wallace was patrolling in the early morning hours of May 28 when she saw a white Jeep go through a red light and quickly pulled it over. 

Officer Kayla Wallace North Myrtle Beach Police/Facebook

Wallace saw a female driver and a male passenger. When the woman opened the door she appeared distressed. 

"I gave loud orders for her to close the door," the officer wrote in the police report obtained by CBS News. "The passenger also opened his door and stated that the windows don't roll down. The driver then told me that she felt like she was going to throw up."

"While the male passenger wasn't looking at the driver, the female silently mouthed 'Help Me' repeatedly," the department posted on Facebook.

That prompted Wallace to remove the passenger from the vehicle and placed him in the back seat of her car before going back to talk to the woman. The driver then told her that the man had just shot someone and she had been forced to drive at gunpoint. 

"She stated that she was under so much stress that she did not see that the stoplight was red," the officer noted in the police report.

Moments later, a "be on the lookout" alert — or BOLO — was sent over the radio from dispatch: a white Jeep SUV was involved in a shooting incident in the county, the alert said, a spokesperson told CBS News. No license plate was provided. 

According to the police report, dispatch also described a Black male wearing blue jeans and blue and white Jordans, which matched the passenger's description. County law enforcement were then called to the traffic stop. 

"[Officer Wallace] did not know anything about the shooting prior to her stop," Officer Pat Wilkinson told CBS News. "She was being a proactive police officer and simply observed a traffic violation 30 minutes before the end of her shift."

That led to the arrest of 29-year-old Collins Bates of Columbia, who remains detained, according to CBS affiliate WBTW. He faces charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in connection with a shooting.

Bates allegedly shot someone, threatened another person and forced them to drive him away from the scene, according to warrants obtained by the station.

Wilkinson also told CBS News that a pistol was found under his seat in the car. Bates was also reportedly charged with unlawful carrying of a firearm.


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