Pizza delivery driver jumps from trunk after being kidnapped, police say

Cornelius Ruise III, 32, accused of kidnapping, attempted robbery

BAKER COUNTY, Fla. – A man accused of holding a pizza delivery driver at gunpoint before putting her in her trunk, stealing her car and attempting to rob a Dollar General turned himself in to authorities Sunday evening, according to officials.

The Baker County Sheriff's Office said Cornelius Ruise III, 32, was with family members when he turned himself over to authorities. He faces charges of kidnapping and grand theft auto.

Authorities said a 26-year-old Papa John's driver was delivering a pizza to a home on Lane Avenue when she she was confronted by Ruise, who was armed with a rifle and forced her into the passenger seat of her car.

The woman told police they drove to a secluded area on a side street, where he forced her into the trunk of her car. Police said Ruise told her he intended to go to Lake City to kill someone and that he would give the car back afterward.

As they were heading west on Interstate 10, the woman felt the car slow down and she pulled the emergency release handle and jumped out of the trunk onto State Road 121 in Macclenny in front of several witnesses, according to Baker County deputies. Sheriff Joey Dobson said the woman was taken to the hospital for treatment of scrapes and bruises.

Baker County deputies said Ruise drove the woman’s car to Union County, where he attempted to rob a Dollar General, then visited family members in Lake Butler, who told police he bragged about the robbery and kidnapping.

Family members told police that Ruise mentioned that he still planned on driving to Lake City, but intended on “torching the car” first. Shortly after, Baker County deputies responded to a car fire near Quail Lane in Macclenny – an area police said Ruise frequented in the past. After arriving, deputies confirmed the car belonged to the kidnapped woman.

Ruise's family made a heartfelt plea for him to turn himself in. They said they are heartbroken and that this is not like him at all.

“My brother wasn’t raised like this," Ruise's sister, Shaontae Watts, said. "We were raised together. It was always me and my brother. He’s never been in a situation like this. I don’t know. Whatever drug he’s on, whatever he’s on, it’s a powerful drug.”

Ruise is a convicted drug dealer who served six years in prison.

"I said, 'Let's do the right thing,'" Tenia Ruise, Cornelius Ruise's mother, said. "Let me either call the police to come and get you ... if you don't want that, I will put you in my car and we'll take you there."

Ruise will remain in custody of the Baker County Sheriff's Office until he's turned over to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, where the kidnapping and auto theft warrant was issued.

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