With an alert out for the suspect, the Isabella County Sheriff's Department received word from regional dispatch that a suspect and vehicle matching the alert had been spotted about an hour and a half north.
Ramsey ended up ramming a Michigan state trooper's car so hard that he disabled it and it could not chase after it, police said.
His car broke down in the middle of a field and he walked to a sanitation company where he found a Ford pickup truck with the keys in it.
He took off and hit another Michigan state police patrol car before speeding away, police said. In nearby Crawford County, a deputy spotted Ramsey.
"Ramsey ends up swerving and hitting the Crawford County deputy head on, doing extensive damage to the car and actually pinned the deputy for a little while," Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski told ABCNews.com.
Ramsey backed up as if he were going to ram the car again.
At some point during the ordeal, Ramsey managed to post on Facebook, "Well folkes [sic] im [sic] about to get shot. Peace."
"The deputy was able to slither out and ended up firing some shots and ended up fatally killing Mr. Ramsey there at the scene," Mioduszewski said.
An investigation revealed that the woman, a senior at Central Michigan University, had been on her way to her car when an armed man approached her and forced her into the passenger seat, police said.
"The gentleman started driving, took her to a residence in the south part of Isabella County, brought her inside, taped her hands, bound her and then ended up sexually assaulting her," Mioduszewski said.
He put her back into her car and retrieved two gas cans from the garage of the house.
"At one point, going down the road, he told her, basically, that he was going to kill her," Mioduszewski said. "So, fearing for her life, she ended up jumping out of the moving car."
She fractured her arm, but managed to take off running. She spotted the Persyn house and rushed to the door.
"If [James hadn't] let her in, there's no doubt in my mind that Ramsey would have ended up killing her," Mioduszewski said.
The woman, who is not being identified since she was the victim of a sexual assault, was taken to the hospital for surgery and has since been released.
Ramsey, the alleged attacker, was paroled last summer after spending five years in prison for felonious assault. He also had a violent criminal history.
"For anything that he did actually do, I'm sorry for the people that he may have hurt, but believe me, that wasn't the way he was," Cindy Gimmey, Ramsey's mother, told ABC News' affiliate WJRT-TV in Flint, Mich.
"We've had some weird stuff happen but, by far, when you add up the kidnapping, the attempted murder, the larceny of a car, arson and then ramming three patrol cars -- it was quite an ordeal," Mioduszewski said.
James will be honored with a lifesaving award at a county commission meeting later this month, Mioduszewski said. He has gotten a lot of attention but his family maintains that he simply did the right thing.
"We had never really thought about 'hero,'" Persyn said of his son. "I just kept telling him how proud I was of him."