Lehigh Valley

Woman startled by man hiding in back seat

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - "It was terrifying."

22-year-old Reagan Landis was getting ready for work a couple Fridays ago.

"It's funny," she tells us, "Because I got an earlier shift that day…"

She noticed something else that seemed funny.

"I saw a police officer walking up and down my alley and I was like 'oh that's weird,'" she says.

The sirens near her home just off East Emmaus Avenue died down by the time she went to her garage and got into her car, where she noticed a smoky smell...but again...wrote it off.

She says she thought, "Whatever. It's in my garage…it's safe."

She pulled out of her garage and started off for work, a few miles away down Highway 309.

"And about halfway there, from the backseat of my car, I hear 'Excuse me, miss. I don't want to scare you, but…"

Reagan pauses and clutches her heart and begins laughing. "Oh my god!" she says, obviously reliving the moment and still in disbelief.

"No!" she says.

Police say the voice belonged to 43-year-old Alan Ongiri, who had run off during a traffic stop earlier in the night.

He'd hopped a fence and hidden in Reagan's garage and was now in the backseat of her car.

"And he's just trying to make everything OK by telling me a story about how "oh I was chased by these thugs" and "I had to hide here" and "you saved me" and blah blah, so I'm thinking "there's no way I believe you," she says.

But Reagan stayed calm and played the game.

She told him, "Oh, you're safe now! Don't worry about it! I'm so glad you're OK," before adding, "There's an inn on the side of the road, how about I just go over there?'"

She convinced him to let her drop him at the Knights Inn in Coopersburg.

"And he's like 'OK, well just drive around the back." I'm like "No, no. Right here's good, you know?"…I turned around I wanted to see exactly where he was going, so then I booked it," she laughs and adds, "And went to work and finished my shift."

Along with being a pretty dedicated employee, Reagan also appears to be headed toward the right field. The communications major credits communicating with keeping her level headed.

"Honestly, I was calmer when it happened, because adrenaline kicked in, kind of with the crisis management thing," she says.

As for Ongiri - he didn't get far before police caught up with him, and he now faces multiple charges.

Reagan's glad he's off the streets and out of her car...and says, while she's shaken, she's also smarter.

"Stay calm," she advises, along with, "Always lock your car always check your back seat."


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