BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — In dramatic dashcam video that has made its rounds on social media, a woman said she was terrified because a man was following her while driving through Southwest Bakersfield on Sunday night.
The video is shot from the point-of-view of the woman's brother-in-law, Gerardo Salazar, who is racing to confront the stranger while on the phone with her. In the video, you can hear Salazar refer to the woman as Brea. Brea was driving alone and worried about a car she said was following her around the WinCo parking lot on Panama Lane in Southwest Bakersfield. Brea called Salazar pleading for his help.
Gerardo: "How long has he been following you?"
Brea: "Where you at? He's been following me since I left WinCo like 30 minutes ago. And I made a stop at Chevron."
The video also shows Salazar rushing through city streets to help Brea, until he eventually catches up with her and sees the car she described.
Gerardo: "You following her!?"
Brea: "He's been following me since the f***ing WinCo! Do I get out? He's been following me since the f***ing WinCo!"
Gerardo: "No it's alright, just uh, keep going, I'm going to call the cops."
The Bakersfield Police Department said they did not receive calls from Brea or Salazar that night. However they identified the man in the Mercedes and said he has no criminal history.
"At this point in the investigation there's no crime," Sgt. Nathan McCauley said. "Even if someone had been following someone in a car, that by itself does not constitute a crime."
We talked to the man in the Mercedes, who declined to go on camera in fear of his and his family's safety. He did tell us that the incident was a misunderstanding because he was visiting family and is new to town. He claimed he was circling the area looking for a place to eat.
BPD said if you find yourself in a situation similar to Brea's, where you feel you're being followed never stop and confront the person.
"Definitely don't do something that's going to put yourself at risk," McCauley said. "Don't stop and confront this person and go back there. There's nothing inherently illegal about that but you're putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. If you're convinced someone is following you, the best course is to call 911."