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12-year-old Va. girl stops carjacker from abducting her little sister

Maddie Weiler said stopping the carjacker was the only thing on her mind when a man tried to steal the car with her little sister inside (Photo: CNN Newsource)

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WSET) -- When a Williamsburg mom pulled over to help victims of a car crash, she had no idea her 12-year-old daughter would end up being the hero.

Police said the girl stopped a man from stealing her mom's car and kidnapping her and her little sister.

Maddie Weiler said stopping the carjacker was the only thing on her mind when a man tried to steal the car with her little sister inside.

"I just went for it, like nothing passed my mind except he's a psycho and he needs to get out of the car," she said.

Weiler and her 7-year-old sister Mollie were on their way to Busch Gardens with their mom on Saturday, when they witnessed an accident on the corner of John Taylor Highway and Greensprings Road.

"We saw the car crash happen right before us, two cars in front of us," Maddie said.

While the girls were waiting for their mom, police and Maddie say a man approached their vehicle, stuck his hand inside the car, unlocked the door, and climbed inside. He tried to take off, but Maddie was ready for a fight.

"I put the car in drive because that's a safety feature on the van, and held it there," Maddie said. "And I just started punching him, and screaming as loud as I could."

Mollie was able to make it out of the vehicle and watched as her older sister gave the suspect, 21-year-old Paul Salsman, a beat down.

"I thought that he was going to take us," Mollie said. "It was amazing because she has never done that, and I just felt so glad that she did that."

Maddie hails from a family of police officers and firefighter and her parents say they had gone over situations like this numerous times with their children.

"She's always been told if anyone tries to take you, kick, scream, bite, hit, gouge out their eyes, whatever you have to do," said Steve Weiler, Maddie's dad.

But, even her father says Maddie's decision to throw the car in drive to keep the engine from starting, surprised him.

"This could have been an amber alert had it not been for her thinking," Steve said.

Maddie suffered a fractured growth plate in her wrist for her bravery, but her message to young girls is clear: never, ever, give up.

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

Police said he tried to steal two other vehicles before they arrived.

They said Salsman had to be tased two times before he was finally taken into custody.

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