International incident: Woman in middle speaks to ABC4.com

Local News

A reported shopping trip becomes an international incident, a Utah man sits in a Mexican jail cell, facing attempted homicide charges, and his girlfriend, back in Utah, tells ABC4.com what she’s doing to try to free him.

THE CRASH

TV news coverage showed cell phone camera video, from at least four different perspectives, of a black Chevrolet pickup truck, barreling between rows of cars and trucks, and rolling over vendors’ carts on the sidewalks. The chaotic scene ended with the truck crashing and scores of people surrounding the vehicle, pulling the two people out of the cabin, and beating them.

The man behind the wheel, 29-year-old Frank Eddie Stricker survived, but was arrested on charges of attempted murder and damage to property, after he rammed at least 17 vehicles, ran over at least 12 vendor carts, and struck and injured at least three people.

The passenger, Summer Draper, also survived and was sent back across the border, to a San Diego area hospital.

More than two weeks later, Mexican law enforcers and U.S. journalists are still trying to figure out what happened that day, at the border checkpoint between the U.S. and Mexico. Wednesday, Draper spoke to ABC4.com, via text message, and told us she stands by her story.

The couple was on vacation in San Diego two weeks ago, she said, when she persuaded her boyfriend, Stricker, to drive into Tijuana, to do some shopping. She said the couple became disoriented, stopped and asked people on the street for directions, were attacked by passers-by, and attempted to flee, by driving through the border checkpoint.

“If we didn’t stop, we would’ve been killed,” Draper told ABC4’s sister station in San Diego, the day after the incident.  Draper told ABC4.com she and Stricker are engaged to be married, and she’s launching a fundraiser to help his family hire legal counsel in Mexico, to defend him.

Draper told ABC4.com the Mexican attorney who investigated the case tells her and Stricker’s family he is “hated” by “almost everybody” in Mexican law enforcement, as well as civilians in Tijuana who know about the incident. Draper says she worries for Stricker’s safety and wellbeing.

The Utah woman also acknowledges the ill-fated trip was “stupid,” that Stricker should not have been driving with a suspended Utah driver license, and that his criminal record in Utah — six arrests on 47 criminal charges, most of them drug-related — may prompt suspicion that he was doing more than shopping in Mexico.

But she stands by her story. In her last message of the day, she wrote:

“If I was in the wrong here I wouldn’t be fighting so hard but I got hit first they attacked me before I told him to go through the vendors.”

ABC4.com attempted to contact the Mexican attorney retained by Stricker’s family. We have not yet received a response.

WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICK ON: 

Saratoga Springs residents targeted by rainbow flag theft ahead of Pride Week

BYU scientist researching how to change perception of vaccines

OK to smoke, not to grow? States wrestle with homegrown pot

Ogden woman is charged with murdering boyfriend in deadly 2018 fire

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah Coronavirus

More Coronavirus Updates

IN FOCUS

More In Focus

Justice Files

More Justice Files