PENDLETON – It turns out that a man’s day was just starting as he left his Pendleton business Friday.
Mike Jaskula got into his car at work. He’d left the doors unlocked on his van, and when he started reading a text message from his wife, he realized someone else was inside the van with him.
That person had a gun.
“I’m just really f— freaked out right now,” said Jaskula on the 911 call he made to police.
At first, Jaskula thought it was a joke. He quickly realized it was the real deal.
“My hands were uncontrollably shaking,” said Jaskula. “He knew a lot more than the common criminal would.”
A gun, shoved in his side, the lives of his family threatened.
“My wife is pregnant and they knew,” said Jaskula on the 911 call. “’Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t do anything stupid, you have a baby on the way, so don’t do anything stupid.’”
He feared the worst.
“That is when I knew it was serious,” said Jaskula.
The crook forced Jaskula to stop at three different ATMs around town to withdraw the daily limit of $1,000. After the money was taken out, the scene shifted out of town to a deserted country road.
“Downtown Pendleton is not all that big, but the surrounding area is,” said Jaskula. “When we started driving into the country that’s when I started getting really, really scared.”
Jaskula feared he might be shot, instead the suspect told him to slow down. His assailant opened the door, jumped out, and took off.
“As soon as he jumped out of the car I did not try to do anything, I just drove,” said Jaskula. “Why tempt it? I am out, I am gone.”
The man jumped out near a bean field and tree line at an out-of-the way area in Grant County. Pendleton Police said the gunman may be familiar with the lay of the land since he told Jaskula to drive there.
“It might be somebody who knows the area,” said Pendleton Police Chief Marc Farrer. “If not, he may still be lost out there, we just do not know.”
Mike Jaskula knows he’s lucky, and said he learned a life-saving lesson.
“I am just lucky, I am happy, I have a new lease one life, but in a different way,” he told Fox 59.
Pendleton Police are working to get ATM surveillance video from that night to get a look at the guy. Jaskula said he plans to add more lights at his business, but more importantly, he’ll always remember to lock his doors.