A simple word, in this case, “smurf,” may be the reason a woman is alive and her accused attack is in jail.
Prosecutors say Harris held a woman against her will at knifepoint for two hours on Saturday.
Court documents show he repeatedly demanded money, which she says she didn’t have. Fearing for her life, and the safety of her young son, the woman offered to go to her mother’s house for money to buy Harris a gun.
That’s where she used the word “smurf,” letting her family know she was in danger.
“It’s a great tool to have regardless of whether you’re in a domestic violence situation,” said Hope House CEO Maryanne Metheny.
Metheny says a safe word is something they recommend for anyone.
“A safe word, texting, just anything that’s between you and someone who can help you. We’ve had people talking about turning off lights, turning on lights, or closing a window. Just whatever will work,” Metheny shared.
In this case, the safe word was spoken, police were called, and Harris took off. He crashed his vehicle near Truman Road and Hardesty Avenue, injuring ten people, including several children.
Monica Wimbley, her one-year-old baby boy and 14-year-old daughter were inside their SUV when Harris slammed his vehicle into theirs.
Wimbley’s daughter suffered a separated shoulder along with cuts and bruises over much of her body.
“She was in the front passenger seat. She was only being held in the car by her seatbelt. My car had been hit so hard that the passenger door flew open,” Wimbley said.
A 12-year-old boy in another vehicle was the most badly injured after he was thrown from the car in which he was riding.
Fortunately, police expect all those injured, people who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, to be okay.
As for the safe word that may have saved a woman’s life, experts say it’s good for anyone to have, including children who are home alone and families in general.