SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KTVU) - Dashcam video shows Miles Ragland driving north on Highway 1 near Santa Cruz.
It was about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when he saw a man standing in the middle of the road arguing with someone. As Ragland got closer, he knew something was off.
"Crazed! He looked desperate, crazed. He looked disheveled," Ragland said.
The man then turned his attention to him and suddenly whipped out a gun.
"He looks at me and he goes, 'Help me out help me out' and I said, 'No, no,' " Ragland recalled. "And he goes, 'I won't shoot you if you get out.' And he hit the side of my car with the butt of his gun."
Ragland punched the gas of his Scion and counted his blessings.
"He was out of his mind. He could have just pulled the trigger and that would have been the end of me," Ragland said.
But the gunman didn't stop there.
The rear-facing camera in Ragland's car captured the suspect running and confronting other drivers at gunpoint.
"Get out," the suspect can be heard saying.
Another driver put their care in reverse and managed to escape. At one point, authorities said the man fired shots in the air, before carjacking a woman of her Honda Civic.
As seen in the video, the suspect passes Ragland and heads north on the wrong side of the road.
"He ran a whole bunch of cars off the road," Ragland said.
The suspect eventually headed south, leading the California Highway Patrol officers and Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies on a highspeed chase.
The suspect, later identified as 56-year-old John Kenyanjui, then drove off a cliff but climbed out of the water unscathed.
Kenyanjui was subsequently arrested.
"You don't know what you're going to do until you see a gun in your face. And I chose to just try and get away. In retrospect it may not have been the best decision," Ragland said.
He said he had a delayed reaction to the ordeal, the outcome could have been far different.
"I felt really traumatized the next day. It didn't hit me till the next day how serious and scary it was," he said.