The young man lay face-down in the roadway, his arms splayed out from his motionless body. As soon as they saw him, Pamela and James Rast knew they had to stop and help.
The Rasts and their daughter were on their way to church Sunday morning when they spotted the man lying precariously in a lane of traffic on Interstate 26, not far from the Interstate 95 interchange.
"I asked him if he was okay. He didn't respond," James Rast said. "I started directing traffic to get over so it wouldn't hit him." And then Rast helped the man to the shoulder. "I said, 'Stay down, we're going to get you help.' "
That's when the fellow suddenly came to life and pointed a revolver at Rast's chest.
"He told my husband 'I need your car,' " Pamela Rast said. " 'I need the vehicle.' "
The stranger feigning injuries was Corey Jamaine Dozier, a 31-year-old Florida man on a desperate run from the law after allegedly gunning down his girlfriend and wounding a man in Jacksonville, police said.
After robbing a store in St. George, Dozier crashed his getaway car and lay down on the side of I-26 in Dorchester County to await his next victim, authorities said. That's when the Rasts came along around 8 a.m. Sunday.
Pamela Rast, an accountant by trade, said a few cars had already pulled over and people were calling 911 to get help for the young man in the roadway. The man, dressed in shorts and a black shirt, seemed to be injured. His cellphone lay on the pavement beside him, as if he was making a call when he passed out or was struck by a car, she said.
James Rast, a construction safety manager, joined another man in trying to move the fallen stranger. They were in the process of doing so when the stranger pulled out a gun. The other driver who had been helping Rast took off running, and the other cars bolted as well, Pamela Rast said.
Pamela Rast saw the gun and shouted to her 21-year-old daughter Britney to duck down in the back seat. "My first reaction was to start praying," Pamela Rast said. "I thought he was going to start shooting so I just started praying. The next thing I knew, he was at the driver's-side door. He told me 'Get out of the car, and get your baby out.' "
They did as they were told, and the gunman climbed into their red Kia Sportage. "Then, he just took off at a high rate of speed," she said.
A state trooper quickly got behind the Kia and followed it eastbound on I-26. The chase went on for 22 miles before Dozier ran over some Stop Sticks placed in the road by a Dorchester County sheriff's deputy. The sticks blew out the tires and ended the pursuit, authorities said.
Dozier, of Jacksonville, is charged with failure to stop for blue lights, driving under suspension, carjacking and two weapons charges in connection with taking the Rasts' vehicle. He faces more serious charges in Jacksonville, where is he accused of murder in the death of Sherry Desravines, Dozier's girlfriend and mother of his 3-year-old child.
Jacksonville Police Lt. Rob Schoonover said Desravines, 27, and Dozier arrived at her home together on Sunday when Dozier confronted a man who was visiting. He said Dozier shot the man in the car and then turned and shot Desravines. She was found in her backyard with a head wound. The unidentified male victim drove himself to a hospital and was later released.
Dozier took off toward South Carolina in Desravines' car.
A Dorchester County Sheriff's Office incident report says Dozier fit the description of a man who robbed a BP gas station in St. George. The car used in that robbery was a silver Ford Taurus that authorities later found wrecked at the Interstate 95 and Interstate 26 interchange. Charges were pending in the St. George case.
At a Monday bond hearing held via closed-circuit television in a Summerville courtroom, Dozier had a hard time holding his eyes open and keeping his head up. Several times, he cradled his face in his shackled hands.
Dozier apologized for the trauma he caused to the county and to the victims. "I didn't mean to hurt anybody," he said.
Dorchester County Magistrate Gary Cook denied bail on the carjacking charge and set bail amounts totalling $32,500 on the remaining felony charges. For the driving under suspension charge, Cook set a $652.50 personal recognizance bond.
The Rasts, meanwhile, returned to their Bowman home Sunday and told a few close friends and family about their ordeal. Then, they watched a movie and some football, sharing quiet time and togetherness, grateful that a bad situation hadn't had a much worse outcome.
"You start replaying what happened, and it could have been just so much worse," Pamela Rast said. "I'm just glad I didn't know at the time all the things he had done before he got to us."
Pamela Rast said she decided to share her family's story in the hope that others will be more cautious if confronted with a similar situation. Though it may go against one's desire to help, it's better to just call 911 and wait for the professionals to arrive, she said.
"We are Southerners, and Southerners are known as kind people who are always willing to help," she said. "Your heart wants so much to reach out and help, but you just can't do that anymore. You can't react normally anymore."
David W. MacDougall contributed to this report.