Often, when we’re placed in a life or death situation, it can be hard to think straight. In fact, our fight or flight reflexes will kick in before we’re even consciously aware of what’s going on. When one young girl was on a road trip with her family, she was soon faced with a situation that could have cost her a lot. However, instead of running away in fear, this young girl decided to be brave and face down the situation in amazing way.
20. Easter Weekend
It was Easter weekend when 12-year-old Maddie Weiler hopped into the car with her mom, Brandie, and little sister, Mollie. The trio were driving out to an amusement park in Williamsburg, Virginia. They were super excited to be on their way until they noticed something weird on the road…
19. Driving Along
The trio were driving along on the road to Williamsburg when they suddenly came across something awful. There was a car accident that happened on the side of the road. Brandie decided that she would pull the car over and see if anyone was in need of help.
18. Calling 911
Brandie got out of her car and went over to the man to see if he needed any help. She began to call 911 when she noticed that the man jumped out of his car “Dukes of Hazzard-style,” according to Maddie. This was very odd…
17. The Driver
It turns out that the driver of the vehicle, 21-year-old Paul Salsman, had some bad intentions. He quickly sprinted his way over to Brandie’s van. Brandie began to scream at Paul and warned her daughters to watch out!
16. Bad Actions
Salsman immediately reached into the open van window and unlocked the car door. Within seconds he was sitting behind the wheel of the car. Maddie and Mollie overheard him speaking to himself and recalled the situation to the police.
“He was saying all these things like, ‘Let’s go’ and ‘I need to get to this place,’” the 12-year-old recalled him saying. It seems that Salsman had his plan figured out. He would flee the area with the car and take the two girls with him.
14. Keeping Cool
Mollie understandably began to panic, however, Maddie managed to stay calm and cool throughout the entire time. You see, Maddie had been raised by a family filled with firefighters and police officers. The young girl had been instructed on what to do in a situation like this…
13. Figuring It Out
Maddie kept calm and wanted to stay strong for her little sister. Then, Maddie realized something that would end up saving their lives. She quickly remembered that the van had a safety feature that prevented it from starting if it was in drive.
12. Quick Thinking
So Maddie quickly shifted the car into the Drive gear and looked the carjacker in the face. “Nothing passed my mind except, ‘He is a psycho and he needs to get out of the car,’” Maddie said when describing the situation. Then Maddie got real tough with the man!
At that point, Maddie knew that she couldn’t sit idly by any longer. That’s when she lunged at the carjacker and began to punch him, elbow him, and bite him. Maddie knew that her and her sister’s life depend on her actions and so she acted as bravely as she could.
Maddie managed to completely catch Salsman off guard and it was during this time that Mollie was able to escape. Mollie unbuckled her seatbelt, opened the backseat door and ran out! However, at that point Maddie didn’t even notice as she continued to attack the man.
9. Watching In Horror
Brandie was watching everything take place and she was absolutely horrified but so proud of her brave daughter. “Once I saw Mollie out [of the car], I yelled for Maddie to get out,” she said. “She was too busy beating the guy to realize that her sister was out.”
8. Fleeing the Scene
At that point, Salsman realized that he had been defeated. He opened the van door and quickly ran off into the distance. He ended up trying to steal another car instead!
7. Three Cars
Finally, the police had arrived on the scene thanks to Brandie’s phone call. It seems that Salsman had already attempted to steal three cars beforehand. All of them had been failed attempts!
Eventually, the police were able to catch and arrest Salsman. However, they had to taser him twice to get him to finally give up. The police should have just called in Maddie to capture him at this point as she truly proved that she could take him on!
Authorities charged Salsman with three counts of felony carjacking, felony hit and run, and driving under the influence of drugs. However, despite all of her amazing bravery, Maddie didn’t walk away completely unharmed. In fact, she suffered some pretty bad injuries.
4. Broken Bone
While in the heat of the moment, Maddie managed to break a growth plate in her wrist that required a cast to heal. The police were still amazed by the bravery that Maddie displayed and even more in awe over how she managed to attack such a large man. Well, Maddie explained it simply…
3. Horseback Rider
Maddie happens to love horseback riding and she swears that this is how she managed to take on the man. “If I can control a 1,500-pound animal, then I was sure going to try to take care of [Salsman]!” Maddie explained. Still, she also explained that at that moment her survival instincts kicked into high gear.
2. Adrenaline Rush
“I was so hyped up on adrenaline, so I wasn’t really scared,” she told ABC News. “I knew what I needed to do. I was thinking about getting Mollie out and beating this guy up so he couldn’t start the car.”
When asked what advice she had for other girls that might find themselves in a similar situation, she had a simple word of advice. “Just fight them.” We can’t argue with that advice!