GROSSE TETE — A 16-year-old Florida girl allegedly kidnapped more than a week ago by a sex offender may owe her life to Facebook and Fawn Domingue, an Interstate 10 truck stop cashier who recognized Ashley Lyon the instant she locked eyes with the teen Wednesday night.
“When I looked at her, my stomach dropped,” Domingue said Thursday afternoon, about 17 hours after a high-speed police chase that ended in Lafayette with Lyon’s rescue and her accused abductor’s capture.
Lyon lay in a Lafayette hospital in serious but guarded condition late Thursday from stab wounds police said were inflicted by her abductor, registered sex offender Steven Patrick Myers.
Myers, too, was in a Lafayette hospital on Thursday, recovering from stab wounds he apparently inflicted on himself during the chase or when he was confronted by police, authorities said.
Lyon’s ordeal began June 11, when the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, Florida, reported her missing and likely in the company of Myers, 41, of Plant City, Florida.
Domingue’s part in the story began Wednesday, when she agreed to cover a shift for a co-worker at the Tiger Truck Stop. Before going to work, Domingue scrolled through Facebook and viewed a video that detailed Lyon’s abduction in Florida.
Hours later at work, at 9:42 p.m., to be precise, Domingue was at the cash register when the teen and Myer walked into Tiger Truck Stop. He wanted cigarettes.
“I thought I recognized him, but I couldn’t remember where it was from, until I saw Ashley,” Domingue said. “Me and Ashley looked at each other’s face and I knew exactly where I knew her from.”
To make sure, Domingue used her cellphone in the truck stop’s office to view the video again. She then had a co-worker call the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“I was so stressed and overwhelmed I couldn’t even get the words out,” she said.
A minute later, she saw the pair getting in a pickup.
As soon as a deputy pulled into the Tiger Truck Stop parking lot, Myers took off with Lyon, racing west along Interstate 10 with a growing group of patrol officers in pursuit.
During the chase, Myers purposely hit four cars and swerved in front of 18-wheelers, Iberville Sheriff Brett Stassi said.
Speeding into Lafayette Parish on I-10, chased by the posse of squad cars, Myers ran over road spikes laid by State Police troopers and Lafayette Police Department officers, Lafayette Cpl. Paul Mouton said.
Myers drove with flat tires until the tire remnants caught fire. Then he got out, knife in hand, and went toward police, authorities said.
“He did every thing he could to get away,” Stassi said. “He rode on the rims until the truck wouldn’t move any more. Then he wanted to fight after that.”
Myers was transported to a Lafayette hospital for treatment of dog bites and the stab wounds that were apparently self-inflicted.
Meanwhile, Lyon sat inside the truck, bleeding.
“It appears he had stabbed the victim multiple times, probably during the chase,” Iberville Chief Deputy Stephen Engolio said.
Lyon was transported to a hospital, where medical observers judged her condition at first as critical. On Thursday, Lyon’s condition improved to serious but guarded.
Domingue, at Tiger Truck Stop, said Iberville deputies who questioned her at first didn’t tell her that Lyon had been stabbed. When she learned the severity of the teen’s injuries were, her first reaction was to blame herself. Then, hearing the words of consoling Iberville deputies and co-workers, she realized Lyon could have been lost forever if she hadn’t done something.
Myers was in serious but stable condition Thursday at a Lafayette hospital. It was unclear where he would be jailed after his medical release — in Florida, where he allegedly kidnapped her, or Louisiana, where he reportedly tried to kill her.
“He’s a waste of air. ... He looked like an eerie type of person that you look at and you can tell they’re not a good person,” Domingue said Thursday, moments after finishing a phone interview with CNN talk show host Nancy Grace, whose Facebook page had the Lyon video that Domingue viewed before work Wednesday.
Domingue, who has a 5-year-old son, said she felt relieved for Lyon’s family. “I can only imagine the torture and torment they’ve gone through the past few days.”
On Thursday morning, Lyon’s mother was on her way to Louisiana, according to nbcnews.com.
Advocate staff writer William Taylor contributed to this report.