NORMAN, Okla. - A local woman is sending out a warning: be careful who you go home with. She said her decision to spend the evening with a Norman man almost ended her life.
Deborah Lacy said she was out for a walk when a man approached - asking if she wanted to hang out with him.
In a decision Lacy now regrets, she got in the car and went to his house.
"He was getting drunk, I was getting drunk, and I told him I wanted to go and he kept saying 'Quit talking to me, I'll take you home in a minute,'" she said.
Lacy then called a friend asking for a ride but, little did she know, the man who was a stranger to her - later identified as 54-year-old Dennis Ross - was no stranger to authorities.
"And, he snatched the phone and told him 'Imma kill this b****' and threw the phone down, and he just started beating me with a shovel," she said.
With both arms severely injured and a large gash on her head - Lacy was focused on survival.
"He said `You say one word, you're dead,'" she said.
Eventually, Lacy said Ross actually called the police.
"My mom's been dead for several years, and I seen her silhouette right there in the door and I knew I could go then," she said.
Ross was arrested on charges of assault and battery - as well as attempting to intimidate an officer. That's not his first assault charge. He pleaded guilty to it in 2012.
We also told you last summer when Ross was arrested on accusations of animal cruelty. That charge was dropped when he surrendered his dog to animal welfare.
"He needs to go away for a long, long time," Lacy said.
As for Lacy, she said she was sent to the hospital and put in an induced coma. She's hopeful others will learn from her story.
"I'm 58 years old, and I wasn't smart enough to stay out of his car," she said. "So, you young girls and anybody else, do not get in nobody's car. Don't go with a stranger. Don't do it. Because, I could be dead right now."
According to a police report, Ross claimed the victim was trying to “swindle” him and take his money. The report goes on to read that Ross said hit Lacy with a shovel because of that and he stated she was lucky that’s all he did.
Norman police said Ross was uncooperative in the booking process, threatening to kill jail staff.
Ross was released on bond and ordered not to contact the victim.