Maureen Blair was hoping for a peaceful lunch hour on Jan. 15 after pulling into a Clarksville park located in the back of a Clarksville bank.
Instead she was thrust into five minutes of chaos in which she said she became, “a little bit hysterical.”
Two men had just robbed the F&M Bank.
One of the suspected robbers was caught moments later, while another man, Roberto Vasquez, saw Blair and her van as a getaway, police say.
“I was about to just drive away, and he was at my window with a gun,” said Blair.
When the two made it to busy Wilma Rudolph Boulevard, they were bumper-to-bumper with Clarksville police.
A pistol-toting Vazquez was in the back seat while a terrified Blair was using turn signals and frantic gestures to let police know she was a hostage.
“There was one officer with his gun drawn on the side of the road, and I panicked and I started to wave at him. I didn’t know at that point if he new I wasn’t part of it or if he knew I had been kidnapped or what the deal was. I started waving at him and tell him not to shoot,” said Blair.
Police rammed the van and then two shots shattered the passenger side window, killing Vasquez.
“I happened pretty quickly actually. I kind of just sat there for a minute and then the next thing I knew the officer was firing the shots through the windshield. I just kind of froze,” said Blair.
Ten days later, the family got word that Blair’s sister, Jennifer, was killed in a car wreck in New Jersey.
Jennifer’s high school sweetheart and future husband John died with her. One of the last things Jennifer did was to send her sister a card of encouragement about her kidnapping.
Through the chaotic moments, the family has managed to stay strong during these months.
Meanwhile, Maureen’s husband, Joe, is on a second tour of duty overseas in the U.S. military. He is expected to return home soon to his wife and two children.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Authorities said a man was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon after he attempted to rob a Clarksville bank.
Sheriffs deputies in Montgomery County said the man tried to rob the F&M Bank on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard.
Authorities said the man fled the bank after an alarm sounded, took a teller as a hostage and forced her into a car.
An alert bank customer saw what was going on and blocked the escape. In a panic, the robber spotted a woman, Maureen Blair, parked in a blue van.
She was forced to drive down Wilma Rudolph Boulevard with the robber until police cars rammed the van.
Blair said she thought the man was just jogging until he approached her and showed her a gun.
She said he then jumped into the back seat of her van, pressed the gun to her head and told her to drive.
Within minutes, police had her car surrounded. She said the cops were ramming her van, and then an officer managed to pull in front and forced her to stop.
Officer Alex Kozoil stepped out of his car, saw the suspect holding the gun and shot twice.
Blair the bullets passed right by her head, striking the man in the back seat.
The robber was shot at least twice after showing a gun, authorities said, and died later after being taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center via helicopter. The man was not immediately identified.
The hostages were unhurt.
A suspected accomplice in the attempted robbery was also arrested. The events happened as dozens of people watched in restaurants nearby. Police patrols had been increased in the area because of recent crime.
Clarksville police have been called to at least a half dozen bank robberies in the past few weeks. They said it’s possible these men had a part in at least some of them.
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