March 26, 2013 — -- The quick thinking of a New Jersey teen may have saved her from a kidnapping: She steered a car she allegedly was forced to drive into a police vehicle to alert authorities she was being held against her will.
The teenager was forced into the car in her hometown of Wildwood, N.J., by Floribert Nava, 45, who had a history with the teen, according to Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor.
"It was a dispute over the adoption of a recently born child," Taylor said.
The child had already been adopted by a family in Philadelphia, but Nava was intent on having the child for herself, so she forced the teen into the car using an "airsoft" pistol, Taylor said.
Airsoft pistols do not shoot standard bullets, instead discharging small plastic pellets that can pierce the skin at close range. Many airsoft pistols are indistinguishable from conventional firearms, officials said, something that apparently aided Nava during the alleged kidnapping.
After getting the teen into the car, Nava compelled her to drive and, according to Taylor, spent more than 90 minutes with her in the car as they made their way to Philadelphia.
Nava allegedly picked Philadelphia because it was the location of the baby's adoptive family, The Associated Press reported.
Things apparently took a turn, however, as the car neared the City of Brotherly Love.
Upon reaching the 9,500-foot span of the Ben Franklin Bridge, the teen turned the wheel of the vehicle into a Delaware River Port Authority police car that was parked on the bridge assisting a stranded motorist, according to the prosecutor's office.
After the car she was driving came to a stop, the teen leaped from the driver's side door and got the attention of Officer Mark Pawloski, who put Nava under arrest, the prosecutor's office said.
A search of the car revealed a bag containing duct tape, trash bags and latex gloves, in addition to the airsoft gun, officials added.
Nava has been charged with kidnapping in the first degree, a charge that can carry 10 to 20 years in prison, and three other crimes -- terroristic threats in the third degree, possession of a weapon in the third degree and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in the third degree.
Nava remained behind bars today and officials did not believe she had retained an attorney. She will be arraigned Wednesday via videoconference.
The Cape May County Prosecutor's Office was unable to comment on the current disposition of the teen.