MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Florida man is recovering from a head injury that he suffered while trying to stop a carjacker from taking his truck with his children inside.
It happened last month, just before Christmas and part of that confrontation was caught on police dashcam video.
“It was a carjacking. It was a kidnapping. Those kids were in the backseat,” said Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Major Eric Flowers.
The dashcam video from a police cruiser captures the moments when a stolen truck is seen speeding and swerving down a wooded drive.
Police said 34-year-old Fabian Leon was behind the wheel.
“At one point, a gentleman was pulling in, was attempting to back in a trailer as he stepped out of his vehicle while leaving the door open, Mr. Leon jumped into the vehicle and took off. He stole the vehicle,” Flowers said.
Also inside that vehicle, two frightened little girls, 3 and a 12-year-old.
It’s difficult to see, but their father desperately tries to stop the carjacking and gets dragged along by the suspect.
Deputy Teddy Floyd was in the area delivering Christmas toys to families.
He can be seen later in the video wearing a Santa hat and barely avoided a head-on collision by swerving into the trees.
“The father was thrown from the vehicle. The vehicle crashed into a tree.//he either had to crash into deputy Floyd or crash into the tree and he chose the tree,” Flowers said.
Authorities say the father suffered a brain bleed when he was thrown from the truck, but that didn’t stop him from grabbing up his 3-year-old as soon as they were out of the vehicle.
“As a father, I absolutely understand and would totally do the same thing, jumping on a vehicle, saying no don’t take my kids. It’s just unbelievable.”
As for the suspect, the video shows him cornered, tased, and arrested.
“This is such an unusual case. This isn’t something like we’ve seen before, two days before Christmas,” added Flowers.
The suspect has now been charged with kidnapping, carjacking, and assaulting a police officer.