Vail clerk’s help led to carjacking arrest |

Vail clerk’s help led to carjacking arrest

Steve Lynn
Vail Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

VAIL ” Ramon Najera didn’t know at first that the woman who gave him a note was in trouble.

The woman cut in front of a couple of customers at Phillips 66 and started writing on a paper towel.

Then she asked Najera, a cashier at the West Vail gas station, where McDonald’s was and gave him $30 for gas and a note that said, “call 911 70 W Black Blazer with green trim.”

“I thought maybe she was on drugs or something,” Najera said.

With Najera’s help, a hitchhiker who threatened the woman with a knife on a drive from Denver to Eagle was being held in Eagle County jail, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said.

Martin Cabadas, 29, ran into the 22-year-old woman and her two young children in downtown Denver Saturday and said he would give her $20 if she gave him a ride, the Sheriff’s Office said. The woman’s name was not released.

The woman accepted Cabadas’ offer, but shortly afterward she felt uncomfortable and told him to get out of her SUV. Cabadas pulled out a knife near Colfax Avenue and Interstate 70 and told her to keep driving, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Cabadas told the woman that they were going to Las Vegas “to become a happy family,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

Cabadas and the woman knew each other, but the woman did not intend to drive Cabadas to the mountains, said Shannon Cordingly, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.

During the drive, the woman made herself vomit and stopped her car to try to find a way to escape with her son and daughter, Cordingly said.

“She decided to get back in the vehicle and look for a safer opportunity,” Cordingly said.

When the SUV was running low on gas, Cabadas had the woman stop at Phillips 66, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Najera took the note from the woman and put it aside at first, he said.

“I thought she was very rude,” he said.

When the woman was pumping gas, she kept looking at Najera and nodding, he said.

“I took a second look at her and saw her face, and I thought something was wrong,” he said.

Najera called 911 and described the note, the woman and her SUV.

A sheriff’s deputy pulled the SUV over near Eagle, and Cabadas was arrested on suspicion of three counts of false imprisonment and one count of menacing, all felonies, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Cabadas was being held in Eagle County jail on a $2,500 bond Monday, the Sheriff’s Office said.

A co-worker called Najera Monday and explained that the woman and her children were OK, he said.

“I feel good now,” he said. “I didn’t really think she was in that big of a danger before.”

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or

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