I-65 attack triggers painful memories for sex assault survivor


When Baylee Johnston found out a 16-year-old girl was grabbed, then dragged into the woods after catching a flat tire on I-65 Sunday, she says her heart dropped. 

I kind of like fell over, Johnston said. It took me a while to catch my breath. 

She thought the suspect might have been her attacker.

Once the sketch came out, I realized it wasn’t him, the 22-year-old said. 

She says the same thing happened to her nearly two years ago.

It made me sick that there’s more than one person out there that’s gonna do that, Johnston said. It makes me sick about it happening to anyone else.

In December 2017, Johnston was driving home when her car had a flat tire on I-440. 

I pulled over and the entire tire like flew off my car, Johnston said. 

She got out to see what happened.

I was approached by a man who said he could help me, Johnston said. And he would give me a ride home.

When Johnston said no, he grabbed her.

He drug me into his truck where he raped for 30 minutes, she said. 

Police say her attacker still hasn’t been caught.

My rape kit still hasn’t been processed, she said. They said it could be another year.

Johnston says the attack still haunts her. She suffers from PTSD, anxiety, and depression. 

I take so many medications still to sleep at nighttime, she said. 

She finds strength in sharing her story and holding rallies against sexual assault with her nonprofit Silent No Longer.

It’s still horrifying, Johnston said. It should never happen to anyone.

Metro Police say if your tire goes flat or car breaks down on the road, stay inside your vehicle with the doors locked until help arrives. 

Police say put on your hazard lights, call AAA, TDOT, or the non-emergency number for Metro Police at 615-862-8600.

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