"I really just thought it was a going to be another stop, but then I starting getting a feeling that I needed to stop this car as quickly as possible," the deputy sheriff said.
Lt. Butler was unaware that the driver of the Hyundai, Brandon McMillan, and his pregnant girlfriend Angela Crystal Hartley, had kidnapped a customer at a convenience store in Laurinburg. But he had a gut feeling.
"Something just said, 'Get this car stopped.' And I reckon it was the Lord speaking to me," Butler said.
The owner of the Sonata, who was not identified for her safety, had been at a party that night as a designated driver and had gone to a Kangaroo gas station in Laurinburg to fill up before driving people home when a pregnant woman asked for a ride, he said. The victim agreed, and then the pregnant woman's boyfriend got in the car, he said.
Laurinburg police, who investigated the kidnapping, later identified the couple as Brandon McMillan, 27, of the 22200 block of Bunch Road, and Angela Crystal Hartley, 24, of the 1000 block of Raleigh Street. Hartley is eight months' pregnant.
Butler said the couple gave the victim directions to another location, and once they got there McMillan, who claimed to have a gun, robbed her of her cell phone and the $8 she had with her, ordering her drive into the county, where they forced her into the trunk, according to Butler.
The victim pulled a release lever in the trunk at one point trying to escape, but McMillan came around, opened the trunk and threatened to kill her if she did so again, Butler said.
At some point, McMillan dropped Hartley off back in Laurinburg, he said. After seeing the Sonata blow through the stop sign, Butler chased it onto Sneads Grove and clocked the vehicle at 85 mph, he said. He came up behind it, but McMillan wouldn't stop, instead turning onto McFarland Road, where Butler clocked the car at 115 mph, he said.
Eventually the Sonata, which at times was up on two wheels, went into a soft shoulder on Bunch Road, where Butler was able to keep it off the pavement, he said. McMillan jumped out and ran into the woods near Polar Bridge Road, but Butler was soon stopped in his tracks, according to his account.
"I would have ran him down. ... But when you hear screaming coming from the trunk, that takes priority," Butler said. "Once she got out she hugged me and told me I was her guardian angel,"
Authorities arrested Hartley on Sunday about 10:30 a.m. after she was seen at a local business, Laurinburg police Capt. Kim Monroe said. The search for McMillan continued until about 4 p.m., when officers got a tip and found him in a home on Pea Ridge Road, he said.
Why they ordered the woman into the trunk remained a mystery, according to authorities.
"They were not familiar with her," Monroe said. "We don't know for sure what their purpose was going to be. I'm just glad we were able to intervene."
McMillan and Hartley were charged with first-degree kidnapping, common-law robbery and larceny of a motor vehicle, according to police. McMillan was also charged with failing to stop for a blue light and siren, fleeing to elude arrest, failing to stop at a stop sign, speeding, driving with a revoked license and resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer.
Hartley was being held without bail at the Scotland County Jail. McMillan's bail was set at $140,000.