12-Year Old Girl Uses Van's Safety Feature To Prevent Kidnapping

April 19, 2017


An incredible story of a fast thinking 12 year old that prevented a carjacking and kidnapping!  Maddie Weiler, her 7-year old sister, Mollie and their mother were all traveling to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia last Saturday when they witnessed a car accident a few cars in front of them that involved 21-year-old Paul Salsman and another vehicle.  Maddie's mom went to offer assistance and left her daughters in the van with the doors locked.  Meanwhile Paul Salsman, who reportedly later told police he was high on crack and LSD, wanted to get as far away from the accident scene  as possible, attempted to steal a getaway car.  After two unsuccessful attempts on other cars, he was able to wiggle his hand and arm through the cracked window and open the driver's side door of the van with Maddie and Mollie inside. But quick thinking from Maddie kept them safe as she switched the turned off van's transmission from park to drive.  A safety feature of the van prevents it from being started unless the transmission is in park.  Then Maddie did what her parents had told her to do in situations like this, she kicked, screamed, bit and hit the man until helped arrived to hold Salsman in custody until police arrived.  Salsman was arrested and charged with three felony counts of attempted carjacking, one count of felony hit and run and a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of drugs. Maddie's parents say they are amazed at their daughter's quick thinking about the transmission and are thankful their daughters are safe.


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