Kidnapping victim describes minutes spent in real life Grand Theft Auto nightmare

Photo provided by the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 11:41pm

The victims of Zachary Burgess' Grand Theft Auto rampage are speaking out about their ordeal for the first time. Burgess is the Auburn Lacrosse player accused of stealing a truck, kidnapping a women who was inside it, and then hitting nine cars and at least one gate structure just after 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21.

"He wouldn't speak to me, he wouldn't look at me, and it was like he was just in the zone," described Monique Giarrusso of the time she spent stuck in the car with Burgess.

The experience early Saturday night is still fresh in her mind. Police say Burgess, 20, stole the car she was in, held her against her will, then went on a reckless rampage.

"He said 'somebody's driving crazy in your truck.' I sprinted out here, just watched him get caught up on the brick wall here, spinning the tires. It was surreal. I had no idea what to think about it at that point. I was just freaking out. Words couldn't explain how I felt at that point. It was just insane," explained Dalton McClain.

Burgess allegedly stole McLean’s truck and hit several cars with it.

Giarrusso was able to jump out of the car and escape before Burgess left the parking lot, hitting cars and gates along the way. The truck crashed less than a mile from where he stole it.

"I just sprinted after him, found him, held him down until the cops got here," explained McClain.

McClain and several good Samaratins told police they caught up with Burgess after he totaled McClain’s car. They helped hold him down until police could get there to make an arrest.

But it was what Burgess apparently told investigators about why he did what he did that left everyone even more shocked.

“One of his statements was that he wanted to see what it was like to be a Grand Theft Auto individual. What it felt like to take a car and strike several vehicles at a high rate of speed," explained Cpl. L’Jean McKneely with the Baton Rouge Police Department.

"I think I was lucky to get out, and I didn't think I was going to be able to get out because he was just backwards, forwards, doors were locked, he wasn't listening to me, he was ignoring me. It was like he was in a whole other world honestly, it was the weirdest thing. He had rage in his eyes," recalled Giarrusso.

Burgess was arrested and charged with Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Hit-and-Run (9 counts), and Simple Kidnapping.

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