As a father got out of his SUV to enter Walmart, another man jumped out and took off with the father’s three boys in the backseat, according to Pennsylvania authorities.
The kidnapped boys called 911, and one said he was in a vehicle with a driver “whom he thought was drunk,” Pennsylvania State Police said in a filed affidavit November 20, the date of the incident.
The children – aged 15, 12 and 7 – begged the man to slow down or stop, but he refused to do so, court records show. At one point, the driver hit a curb, causing “significant damage”.
As the 44-year-old continued to walk away from the Gettysburg Walmart, the children gave authorities updated locations to help soldiers find them, officials said.
Responding soldiers moved towards them and attempted to overtake them while driving at more than 120 mph, according to the affidavit filed in Adams County.
Soldiers overtook the Toyota RAV4, which had its dangers, but the driver refused to slow down or yield, authorities said. One of the soldiers was then able to get in front of the SUV and they locked up the vehicle.
“I opened the door and gave him verbal orders to come out,” one of the soldiers wrote in the affidavit. “As he did, the vehicle continued to move forward until he pulled it into park.”
The driver, who was “visibly drunk”, was handcuffed, authorities said. The soldiers observed “that he had a strong smell of liquor on his breath…as well as glassy bloodshot eyes”.
Authorities said they asked him how drunk he was, and he replied “really drunk, I drank a lot man.”
The driver admitted to stealing the vehicle because it ran out of gas and needed to drive to Harrisburg, about 40 miles northeast of Gettysburg, court records show. He said he went there to buy heroin, records show.
The man also said he heard the children in the backseat but continued to drive anyway, authorities said.
He was charged with three counts of kidnapping, three counts of endangering the well-being of a child, theft of a motor vehicle, flight and escape from a police officer and DUI.
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