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Pre-Teen Girl Saves Family from Carjacking with Flurry of Fists, Quick Thinking


A 12-year-old girl is being called a hero for saving herself and her little sister from getting abducted.

This past Saturday the Weiler family was driving to Busch Gardens theme park for a nice fun filled day. But before they got too far from their home, they spotted a car crash right in front of them.

Immediately, Brandie Weiler, the mother of Maddie, 12, and Mollie, 7, pulled over to help the victims in the two-car accident. The man believed to be responsible for the incident, 21-year-old Paul Salsman fled from the scene and went directly toward the van with Weiler’s two little girls sitting inside of it.

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Weiler told local news she was on the phone with 911 when she noticed Salsman at her vehicle. With no other choice, the Virginia mother began to scream in an effort to protect her daughters and draw attention to the man.

But it was clear to Weiler that it was too late because he had already put his hand inside the van to unlock the door and attempt to climb in. When he actually got inside, Maddie said,“He was saying all these things like, ‘Let’s go’ and ‘I need to get to this place.’” And then when tried to take off and drive away, the pre-teen stepped in and she said, “I just went for it,” and that “Nothing passed my mind except, ‘He is a psycho and he needs to get out of the car’.”


So she began punching the man, screaming for help and putting the car into drive. The young girl explained that she did so because there’s a safety feature on the van that would hold the car. It also meant that the man trying to abduct her and her little sister wouldn’t be able to drive away as he had originally planned.

Her little sister, Mollie, said, “I thought he was going to take us” but he didn’t because her older sister decided to continue hitting him while the car was on.

The young women’s parents couldn’t be prouder of what their daughter did to protect herself and her young sister.

Her father said, “[Maddie] has always been told if anyone tries to take you — kick, scream, bite, hit, gouge out their eyes, whatever you have to do.” But he also stated how surprised he was that his quick-thinking daughter knew to put the car in drive so the engine couldn’t start.

Maddie did walk away with a fractured growth plate in her wrist and also a message to other girls who might be put in a similar situation and that’s, “just fight them.”

Salsman has been charged with three counts of felony carjacking, felony hit and run and driving under the influence of drugs.


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Stephanie Parker is an award-winning international journalist and a veteran United Nations press corp member who has traveled the world reporting on stories impacting women, families and girls.

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