A 12-year-old girl in Virginia has been hailed a hero for saving her sister by bravely fighting off a would-be carjacker and outsmarting him, thereby preventing the man from taking their car and possibly abducting her little sister.
Maddie Weiler was traveling in their car heading for Busch Gardens on Saturday with her mother Brandie and 7-year-old sister Mollie, when they witnessed a car crash at the corner of John Taylor Highway and Greensprings Road.
Brandie decided to pull over to to help. While she was on her phone calling 911, carjacker Paul Salsman sneaked into their car, opening the door through the window.
“I could see him going toward the van, and I’m screaming,” the mother recalled.
However, Maddie was still inside the vehicle with her sister Mollie. The brave, quick-thinking girl quickly realized what was happening and took the matters into her own hands.
She started punching Salsman and started yelling for help.
Also, she instinctively shifted the gear into ‘Drive’, knowing that the attacker won’t be able to start the engine and drive away with their car, and perhaps with both of them.
“I just went for it,” said Maddie. “Nothing passed my mind except, ‘He is a psycho and he needs to get out of the car’.”
Brandie said she saw Mollie already out of the car and shouted at Maddie to get out as well.
“I yelled for Maddie to get out,” the mother said “She was too busy beating the guy to realize that her sister was out.”
Thankfully, the sisters were safe and Salsman was charged with three counts of felony carjacking, felony hit and run and driving under the influence of drugs. The police said the suspect tried to steal two other cars before the incident.
Maddie’s father, Steven, could never be more proud of his 12-year-old daughter.
“She has always been told if anyone tries to take you, kick, scream, bite, hit, gouge out their eyes, whatever you have to do,” the father said.
However, it still surprised him how Maddie could have known that shifting the transmission to ‘Drive’ would keep the car from starting.
Well, so admirable! That girl truly is!