BRISTOL, Tenn. — A woman selling educational books in Bristol was assaulted and tied up at a home earlier this week before she escaped through a window, according to court records.
In addition to reckless driving, reckless endangerment, evading arrest, methamphetamine possession and other traffic charges, Steve A. Collins, 50, has been charged with felony aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and theft.
A woman, who has not been identified, told Sgt. Jason McCready of the Bristol Tennessee Police Department that she was going door-to-door selling books Monday. McCready spoke to her at Bristol Regional Medical Center after receiving a report of a woman who had been abducted and assaulted by a man.
The woman said she had gone to an apartment on Lynnwood Street regarding an order that Collins made, the complaint states. She said she parked her bicycle and went to the apartment.
The woman said Collins “put a knife to her throat and that he choked her.”
She said she was screaming, and he said, “I was going to sleep a little bit,” the complaint states. It adds that the man was sitting on her.
She said that he stood and got handcuffs and belts. She said he handcuffed her hands behind her back and tied her feet and hands, the complaint states. She said the man also placed something over her mouth.
During the ordeal, the woman said the man hit her with both hands.
Next, the man told her to “stay there,” and he went to hide her bicycle. She said that he went out of the apartment, and she was able to untie herself.
“She advised that she went out a window and jumped to the ground,” injuring herself in the process,” the complaint states.
The woman was able to find someone who called police.
McCready said the woman had injuries to her face, right upper arm and what appeared to be blood on her hand and marks on her neck. She also reportedly suffered a broken bone in her left foot.
Police later learned the woman suffered a compression fracture to her spine. She remained hospitalized Thursday.
Collins was arrested after he drove by the crime scene, according to Capt. Charlie Thomas. Officers pursued the vehicle, and he crashed on Delaney Street.
During a search of the apartment, McCready said officers found rope and duct tape packaging. Collins later told police that he took the woman’s bag to Cumberland Square Park in Bristol, Virginia, because “he wanted to get rid of it in case the police came,” the complaint states.
The woman is listed as a student at the British Technical University and works as a Southwestern Advantage book sales representative. The company’s website says she currently has 135 client families in the Bristol area.
Trey Campbell, director of communications at Southwestern Advantage, said the woman was working as an independent contractor selling products.
“The company sent a representative to the site immediately to meet with the victim, the hospital team, the police and others to assist everyone involved,” Campbell said.
The company conducts a five-day training program before students start their summer, and all safety items are addressed thoroughly, he said.
Campbell said local police have been professional and are “doing a very good job.” He added, “We will continue to work directly with them.”
Lt. Debbie Richmond declined to release additional information about the victim but said she is not a local college student.
Collins, who has a previous 2005 conviction of attempted assault and trespassing, is being held on $110,000 bail at the Sullivan County jail. He’s scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on Tuesday.