AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va ---- A father stopped at a gas station for a quick errand and he left his car running with his kids in the backseat. Minutes later, his car was gone and so were his children.
A surveillance video from Tuesday night shows a man leave the gas station, jump in the car and drive away. Next, the video shows the father run out of the store to save his kids.
A Shell Station in Augusta County is where everything started. That father, desperate for help, found a stranger, Brian Enser, willing to chase the suspect.
"I was coming home from work last night and he jumped in front of my car screaming, 'He took my kids. He took my kids,' and jumped in the passenger seat of my car,” said Enser.
Those horrifying moments took Enser on a detour Tuesday night. This good neighbor was not completely sure of what had happened.
"In the beginning, I didn't know what to think. I had so many thoughts running through my head. Either I was getting carjacked or he had just robbed the store. And it wasn't until I heard, 'My kids, my kids,' that it clicked in that something was wrong.”
All of this happened in just a matter of minutes.
The surveillance video shows the suspect, Jeremiah Martin, inside the Shell Station in Weyers Cave. Minutes later, a man drives up in his Dodge Durango. Seconds after that, his Durango is stolen, with his two kids in the backseat. The father, tries to run after it and that is where Enser entered the story.
"We turned around and went after him going toward Grottoes, on Weyers Cave Rd. He turned around heading back towards 81 again, went down Route 11, for about two miles, finally jumped out of the car and went off running in the woods."
Enser said that was when he parked and the dad jumped out of the car and went after the suspect. Enser went to check on the kids.
"They were strapped in their car seats in the backseat...sleeping. Sound asleep. They never even woke up until I took them out of the car seat.”
Police arrested the suspect minutes later. Although the father left his kids for just a few seconds, Enser said this situation could happen to any parent.
"Everyone has, for that one second, forgot, and this was just, a tragic circumstance, where this father won't do it again. I know this father won't. I'll never do it again because it happened that quickly."
Those few minutes can seem like an eternity.
Enser said the dad hugged him, telling him thank you for help chasing the suspect and his kids. The suspect, Martin, is in the Augusta County Jail. He faces several charges including abduction and driving under the influence.
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