“I Just Went for It”: 12-Yr-Old Girl Outwits Carjacker & Saves Little Sister

A 12-year-old from Williamsburg, Virginia, is being called a hero, after she saved herself and her younger sister from a carjacker.

After witnessing a car accident on their way to Bush Gardens last week, Brandie Wieler and her two daughters pulled over to help.

Brandie was quick to dial 911, and rush over to the victims of the crash, while 12-year-old Maddie and 7-year-old Mollie remained seated in the car. While she was on the phone with emergency responders, the man who caused the crash, Paul Salsman, headed straight for Brandie’s van.

“I could see him going toward the van, and I’m screaming,” Weiler told local news.


Williamsburg police say Salsman stuck his hand inside the van to unlock the door, then climbed inside with the girls. That’s when Maddie jumped into full-on-protection mode, serving up a full plate of girl-power.

“I just went for it,” Maddie said. “Nothing passed my mind except, ‘He is a psycho and he needs to get out of the car.’”

The 12-year-old had the quick thinking of shifting the car in “drive” so the transmission wouldn’t start. Then Maddie went WWE on the carjacker, repeatedly punching him and screaming for help.

“Once I saw Mollie out [of the car], I yelled for Maddie to get out,” Brandie said. “She was too busy beating the guy to realize that her sister was out.”

The 12-year-old, an avid horseback rider, later told her mother, “Mama, if I can control a 1,500-pound animal, then I was sure going to try to take care of him.”


Maddie suffered a fractured growth plate in her wrist, but her successful fight-or-flight instincts saved both her and Mollie from a possible kidnapping.

Once police arrived on scene, Salsman was taken into custody and charged with three counts of felony carjacking, felony hit and run and driving under the influence of drugs. Police say he tried to steal two other vehicles before they arrived.

When all was said and done, Brandie was proud of both of her daughters, and grateful that everyone was safe saying, “Bones will heal, but I cannot replace my girls!”


To other girls her age, Maddie wants them to know that if they ever find themselves in a similar position, they should never give up and “just fight.”

Bri Lamm
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Bri is an outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure. She lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese in between capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras.