There is new information about the armed driver who led police across counties on a dangerous and wild pursuit Friday.
It appeared at times he was on the phone with someone and NBC4 was able to track that person down in an exclusive interview.
Middle School teacher Joshua Ross, will never forget his 37th birthday. It was Friday and he had plans to meet his girlfriend for dinner.
“The whole time if I had only gotten gas last night this never would have happened,” Ross said.
It was at a Corona Shell station where Ross was carjacked by 44-year-old Benjamin Gonzalez, who then took Ross’ beloved pickup truck on a dangerous and armed pursuit.
Inside Ross’ truck all of his belongings, including his cell phone which Ross’ girlfriend says she called during the chase.
“I said ‘hi babe’ and on the other end I hear an unfamiliar voice and they just tell me, ‘sorry I had to take your boyfriend or husbands truck,'” said Ananda Mallory, Ross’ girlfriend.
Mallory says for 30 minutes she tried to keep Gonzalez on the phone so his location could be tracked. Mallory who is also a teacher says she spoke to him in a humanizing way, the way she does to her students.
“I always tell my kids calm body, calm mind,” Mallory said. “He started telling me ‘none of that matters, the police are going to kill me this is my last day here.'”
Mallory says she heard the gunfire as Gonzalez shot at pursuing officers. She says she also held her breath when he came up quick on an intersection where school kids were crossing the street.
“Right away I got into teacher mode, I said ‘don’t you dare, don’t you dare, if your kids watch this they need to know this is what you care about,'” Mallory said.
In the end, the driver was taken into custody and no one was seriously hurt.
Ross hasn’t been able to return to work as a teacher and his family has set up a GoFundMe account to help him get a new car.
He’s grateful for his life and his girlfriend’s heroic actions.
“She was a hero, I do truly believe once he was in certain situations he would have reacted differently had he not been talking to her,” Ross said. “She’s good at calming me down.”