Utica stolen car victim speaks out

Utica woman who came out of a gas station to find someone in her car says that man whole stole her car tried to run her over.

Posted: Aug 9, 2020 2:13 PM
Updated: Aug 10, 2020 12:39 PM

UTICA, N.Y. - What a difference a month makes.

Samantha Drake of Utica had her second child in June, she says it's one of the best things to happen in her life, but just a month later in July she says, she went through the absolute worst experience of her life.

Drake says she was assaulted by a man who allegedly stole her car, and eventually took police on a high speed chase through three counties.

Drake says she was inside the convenience store at the Nice & Easy Gas Station on Whitesboro Street in Utica around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 23, when she says she looked outside and saw someone sitting in the driver's seat of her vehicle.

She says she approached the man in the car, right at the driver's side doorway.

That's when she says the man started to take off, putting the car in reverse to get out of the parking space. Drake says she grabbed the door and was hit by the door as the car backed into her.

She says she fell to the ground and was actually dragged a little ways before she says the man tried to run her over, "I didn’t know what happened. He hit me so hard he knocked my shoes off my feet. So I was just trying to process what was going on. It happened so quick I didn’t know what happened."

Drake says Baker uttered something bizarre when she asked him what he was doing in her car, "He said players get played, you gotta play the game." Then she says he put the car in reverse to take off.

Drake says she suffered cuts and bruises and an injury to her back and now has to pay for all of the damage to her vehicle, "He took a piece of me. He looked at me and laughed at me as he had me on the ground, and you have to be demented to do that."

Police say the suspect, 29-year-old Eric Baker of Pittsford, a suburb of Rochester, was being treated at the McPike Addiction Treatment Center on Court Street in Utica and left involuntarily before getting into Drake's car that day.

Police say after stealing Drake's car, Baker took numerous law enforcement agencies on a chase that went from Oneida County through Herkimer County and ultimately ending in Blue Mountain Lake in Hamilton County where they say he ran into two sheriff's cars.

Police say Baker later told them all he wanted to do was go to Saranac Lake and swim.

Now he's facing numerous charges for stealing a vehicle and fleeing from police. Drake would like to see an assault charge added to the list.

Drake says she will be testifying in Baker's preliminary hearing this week.

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