In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.

‘I Thought I Was Going to Die’: Woman Rescued During Deadly I-95 Shooting Breaks Silence

Melissa Rios tells WJAR she was terrified and had no idea what was happening when a white pickup truck rammed into her vehicle on an I-95 ramp in downtown Providence

The woman who was rescued from her car as Rhode Island police fired more than 40 rounds into a pickup truck during a chase, killing the driver and critically injuring his passenger, is breaking her silence.

Melissa Rios told WJAR she was terrified and had no idea what was happening.

"I thought I was going to die," she said. "And all I know is I'm screaming for help."

The chaos unfolded Thursday morning on an Interstate 95 ramp in downtown Providence during a police chase involving a white pickup truck that was believed at the time to have been stolen by a prisoner who had allegedly stolen a different state police cruiser that morning.

Surveillance video released by law enforcement officials showed the white pickup truck was ramming other vehicles surrounding it on the ramp, including Rios' car, which is when police fired on the truck.

The driver of the pickup truck, 32-year-old Joseph Santos, was killed at the scene. A medical examiner announced on Wednesday he died from a gunshot wound to the neck. His passenger, Christine Demers, was critically injured in the shooting. No officers were injured.

Rios was rescued from her car during the melee by a Providence police officer, whom she tells WJAR she wishes she could thank for pulling her out of harm's way but added she's still haunted by the memories.

"I can't sleep. When I sleep, I wake up screaming," she said. "My whole life is not the same."

The prisoner who stole the state police cruiser that launched the search for a white pickup truck after investigators received information that he had escaped in a white pickup truck's bed, leading to the shooting, was caught in Cumberland on Friday night.

Contact Us