17-year-old victim and Good Samaritans describes attempted kidnapping near Sam Houston HS

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Victim describes attempted kidnapping while walking to Sam Houston High School. (KTRK)

A high-speed chase through Houston neighborhoods is not unheard of, but this one served a purpose and a young woman believes it saved her life.

On Thursday morning, a 17-year-old student was walking to Sam Houston High School when she said a man in a green pickup truck stopped in the street, got out and grabbed her.

"He was trying to pull me inside," she said. "I thought he was going to abduct me, then rape and murder me."

At the same time, a woman named, Cecilia, was driving her own daughter to school. They saw what was happening.

"We could see when she was trying to get away from him, forcefully pushing him, and that's when she turned around and looked at us," said Cecilia's daughter.

Without hesitation, the pair told the girl to get in their truck, and the chase was on. The suspect drove away, running stop signs.

Cecilia put her foot on the gas.

"She drives fast," said her older daughter, Stephanie. "When I saw the video, I said this is like 'Fast and Furious.'"

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The chase went on for more than 10 minutes, up and down neighborhood streets. At one point, Cecilia lost sight of the fleeing green pickup.

"I felt led to another street," she said.

Her instincts were correct.

The suspect, later identified as Daniel Zapata, eventually ran his truck into a ditch. Cecilia boxed in the truck, but not before she said he rammed it in an attempt to get away.

"He came up and offered to pay for the damage to his truck if we'd let him leave," said her daughter.

During the chase, Cecilia told her daughter to call police. Her daughter also recorded the pursuit on cellphone video. Zapata was arrested, and charged with attempted kidnapping, aggravated assault, and DUI -- a third offense.

He has a prior criminal history, including DUI and burglary.

Speed aside, the 17-year-old victim believes Cecilia and her daughter were an answer to prayer.

"They were my angels at that moment. There was nobody else," the victim said.

For her part, Cecilia believes it was no coincidence that she was there to see the girl in distress.

"God had a plan that day," she said with a smile.

Stephanie sees it as a reminder to others.

"Sometimes people don't want to get involved. They might have kept on going, and wondered what might have happened if they had stopped. In life, you're going to take chances, so why not do it for a life. A life doesn't have a price," she added.
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kidnappingattempted abductionHouston
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