One mom's selfless action turned into one of the scariest moments a mother could experience. She watch in horror as a man tried to steal her van with her two young daughers inside.
Brandie Weiler was taking her two daughters on a trip to Busch Gardens in their hometown of Williamsburg, Virginia, during Easter weekend when she saw two cars crash ahead of her.
She pulled over and got out of her van to help the victims. While she dialed 911, the man who caused the crash, later identified as 21-year-old Paul Salsman, rushed to her van and jumped inside with her daughters, 12-year-old Madison and 7-year-old Mollie.
"I could see him going towards the van, and I'm screaming," Weiler said.
Salsman attempted to drive away with the girls
As the older sibling, Madison's instincts to protect her younger sister kicked in. With the vehicle turned off, she put the van in drive, knowing Salsman wouldn't be able to start it.
She started kicking and punching him as she screamed for help.
"I just went for it," she said. "Nothing passed my mind except, 'He is a psycho and he needs to get out of the car.'"
Her younger sister Mollie jumped out of the van to escape the attacker as her older sister continued to punch him.
Once I saw Mollie [was] out, I yelled for Maddie to get out," their mom said. "[Maddie] was too busy beating the guy to realize that her sister was out."
When the police arrived, they tased Salsman twice before successfully arresting him. He was charged with three counts of carjacking, a hit and run and driving under the influence of drugs.
Both parents are shocked and proud of their daughter
Bravery runs in deep in this family; Madison is from a family of firefighters and police officers. Her parents, Brandie and Steven Weiler, taught her what to do in situations like this, but they were surprised she knew to put the car in drive.
"I don't know where it came from," her mother said. "Madison just said she had to do what she had to do to take care of Mollie. She's tough."
Madison, who has a passion for horseback riding, said, "Mama, if I can control a 1,500-pound animal, then I was sure going to try to take care of him."
Her father, a former fire captain, is glad his daughter was determined and did exactly as she had been taught.
"I am so proud of my girl!" he posted on Facebook.
Madison fractured her wrist during the attack, but the family is grateful that they have what's important: each other.
"Bones will heal, her mother said, "but I cannot replace my girls!"