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September 14, 2004

Deaf city woman stymied attacker

From: York Daily Record, PA - Sep 14, 2004

'With all my strength, I was hitting him and kicking him,' Jodi Sciortino said.

Daily Record/Sunday News
Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Jodi Sciortino is deaf, so she couldn't hear the man threatening to kill her as he attempted to steal her car Saturday afternoon.

But she could read his lips.

He yelled at her to get out of her car. He told her to stop screaming. He threatened to kill her if she didn't quit kicking him, she said.

But the 35-year-old York woman didn't stop screaming or kicking or hitting.

And, eventually, the man gave up and left her alone.

On Monday, Sciortino was still a little sore and a little jumpy, but mostly she was relieved to know that the would-be carjacker was behind bars.

She said police called to tell her that the man was caught after he allegedly carjacked another vehicle the same afternoon and led officers on a high-speed chase for nearly 20 minutes.

"I never thought they would catch him that day," she said.

York City Police charged Gary Eugene Ensor, 38, of the 1300 block of Conewago Avenue, Newberry Township, with aggravated assault, robbery of a motor vehicle, fleeing or attempting to elude police and recklessly endangering another person, among other charges.

He also faces charges of attempted robbery of a vehicle and robbery of a vehicle in Sciortino's case. He is being held at York County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Ensor told police he decided to steal Sciortino's car because the car he was driving had gotten low on gas, court documents state. He also told police he had been using crack cocaine. She fought him off

According to court documents, Ensor saw Sciortino leave Rent-A-Center in the 200 block of South George Street at about 2:40 p.m. and approached her as she got in her car.

Sciortino said she saw him walking toward her and didn't think much of it. Then, before she knew it, he was reaching into her car, grabbing for her keys.

That's when she reacted the only way she knew how.

"With all my strength, I was hitting him and kicking him," she said.

Sciortino said the man was holding some type of switchblade in his hand, but she didn't give him the chance to pop out the blade.

Court documents state that Ensor told police he was holding a cell phone in one hand and a checkbook and wallet in the other. And, he said Sciortino kicked the checkbook out of his hand, and she kept kicking him as he was trying to retrieve it.

Sciortino said she didn't know what Ensor wanted as he was reaching inside her car. She said he grabbed for her keys, which were hanging on a lanyard around her neck, and then tried to pull her out of the car. At one point, she said, he even tried pushing her into the passenger seat.

Throughout the ordeal, she said she used her left leg and arm to fend him off. Her right hand to keep a firm grip on the steering wheel, she said.

And, eventually, Ensor gave up, she said.

Sciortino said she'd never been attacked before, and she hopes it never happens again.

"Now, I'm very much aware of where I'm going," she said. "My advice to other women is to be very aware, no matter if it's day or night." Other victim fights, too

Court documents state that after Ensor left Sciortino, he drove to the 100 block of North Queen Street, where he saw 31-year-old Jennifer Smeigh getting out of her car. Her keys were in her hand.

Ensor ran over and grabbed the keys from Smeigh. Police said Smeigh reacted by chasing Ensor around her vehicle.

During the chase, three other women got involved, police said.

April McClain tried to stop Ensor from getting into the car, but he fended her off with his elbow and knocked her out of the way.

Akilah Hawkins grabbed Ensor's wallet and cell phone because she thought they belonged to Smeigh. Police used the identification inside the wallet to track down Ensor later.

And, Veronica Moul tried to stop the man from driving away by standing in front of the car, but the tactic didn't work. Ensor pulled out anyhow, hitting Moul in the arm and leg, police said. Police begin pursuit

About an hour later, York City Police Officer Barry Bloss Jr. saw Ensor driving Smeigh's 1999 Saturn around Maple and South Duke streets and tried to stop him.

But Ensor fled, police said.

Bloss pursued Ensor north onto South George Street, east onto East South Street, north onto South Duke Street, west onto East Church Avenue and north onto South Court Street.

At Court Street, Ensor rammed a marked police cruiser with two officers inside, court documents state. The officers, Allen Henty and Lisa Daniels, were not injured, police said.

The crash didn't stop Ensor, and he eventually made his way out of the city and onto Interstate 83. He then led police on a chase on Susquehanna Trail, Route 216 and then back onto the interstate, police said.

Finally, at about 4:20 p.m., Ensor lost control of the car at Route 74 south and Honey Run Valley Road in York Township.

After the crash, he was taken to York Hospital, where he refused blood work to check for controlled substances in his system, police said.

He then was taken to prison, where he was interviewed by investigators.

That's when, court documents indicate, Ensor told police that between stealing Smeigh's car and the police pursuit, he drove to Manchester, then to a relative's house to ask for money and finally to Duke and Maple streets to buy crack.

When police searched the car after the crash, they found a glass pipe, commonly used to smoke crack cocaine, on the front passenger seat, court documents state.

Police charged Ensor with driving after imbibing, reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Reach Kara D. Eberle at 771-2035 or

Copyright © York Daily Record 2004