BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The man who drove a kidnapped attorney and her abductor to a hotel and later led the police there told FOX News in an exclusive interview Thursday that he did not know he was aiding a fugitive.
Jermaine Bailey said the suspect approached him Wednesday and offered him money if he would drive them to a nearby hotel. Bailey said he thought they were a couple.
"I didn't know she'd been abducted," Bailey told FOX News. "I didn't want to disrespect him."
He declined to comment on whether or not family lawyer Sandra Eubank Gregory — the woman abducted from a parking lot earlier that day — looked scared. The suspect paid him $25, he said, so he dropped them off, checked them into a Comfort Inn in Homewood, Ala., and then went to work. He said he didn't see the request as anything unusual.
"It wasn't really shocking because he was going to pay me, just like you would pay a cab to take you somewhere," Bailey told FOX News.
But by the time he was on break at his job, police were outside asking him questions, so he told them where he'd driven the suspect and Gregory and said they were in Room 266 of the hotel.
FOX News has also learned that the alleged abductor could be formally charged with kidnapping and robbery as early as Thursday.
Birmingham Police chief Annetta Nunn told FOX News on Thursday that there were "several options" with regard to the charges and investigators were still gathering evidence in the case. She didn't comment further.
After an all-day search on Wednesday, Gregory, 34, was found alive at the Comfort Inn motel, which was located only a few miles from where the apparent abduction occurred, according to local police.
A 35-year-old male suspect was taken into custody. Lt. Henry Irby wouldn't disclose his name or release a mug shot until formal charges were filed, but video was taken of the capture and of the man accused of carrying out the abduction.
Gregory had been beaten, but not severely, and was found tied up with a phone cord, local newspapers reported. She was treated by paramedics Wednesday night and underwent tests at a nearby hospital. At least one weapon and money were found at the scene.
The suspect has an extensive criminal record, primarily involving robberies, according to police.
After a nine-hour search on Wednesday, a tip led investigators to Gregory's abandoned SUV and then to the motel, where she was holed up in a second-floor room.
Gregory was allegedly kidnapped from a parking lot near her downtown office at 8:32 a.m. EDT Wednesday and forced into her four-door Lexus RX 300. The apparent abduction was captured on a security video camera.
Police swarmed the Comfort Inn around 5:20 p.m. and arrested a man who fit the suspect's description, holding him down on a walkway outside the second-floor motel room before putting him in the back of a police car.
The lawyer was led out of the room moments later with a covering over her head. She appeared to walk out under her own power.
A Comfort Inn employee told FOX News that a man checked into the motel about 1:50 p.m. local time under the name "Jermaine Bailey" — the driver's name — but the worker said she didn't see Gregory.
The employee said the man seemed a little bit "fidgety," but she didn't notice anything suspicious other than that.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Birmingham police surrounded Gregory's abandoned vehicle in the Cooper Green public housing community in West Birmingham, which they scoured in search of Gregory. She was believed to have withdrawn money under the threat of force from several ATM machines, The Birmingham News reported.
Gregory's ATM card was used at three AmSouth banks, according to the paper. Detectives said over the police scanner that her boyfriend was able to briefly speak to Gregory around 11 a.m. on her mobile phone, the News reported.
Witnesses told police a gunman approached Gregory in the parking lot, near both her office and her apartment complex, and forced her into the vehicle.
A graduate of Samford University's law school, Gregory was admitted to practice law in 1998, according to state bar records. She is the mother of a young daughter, who was at day care during the ordeal.
FOXNews.com's Catherine Donaldson-Evans, Todd Connor and The Associated Press contributed to this report.