But the carjacker was not anticipating the quick-thinking of 8-year-old Chance, who is now being celebrated for saving his older sister from a potential kidnapping.
“This little guy is a hero. No question,” Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said in a Friday statement on Facebook.
The 8-year-old boy recalled to WCPO how the driver, 24-year-old Dalvir Singh, hopped into the car, which his great-grandmother had left outside the Atrium Medical Center, and hit the gas. Coburn thought she had locked the doors, but a safety feature on her car kept the vehicle unlocked, she said. Chance quickly opened the rear passenger’s door, scrambling to create enough space for him and his sister to escape from the moving car.
“My brother went to go grab me, opened the door and went out,” Skylar said, according to WCPO. “My brother fell out, but the guy pulled me back in the car.”
Singh had grabbed onto Skylar’s hoodie, yanking the 10-year-old into the middle of a terrifying tug of war between her 8-year-old brother and a 24-year-old stranger.
The boy won, and the brother and sister tumbled out of the car, police said.
“I fell out and I ran back to the car and I got my sister out,” Chance said to WCPO.
“Good Morning America” reported that police said Singh was under the influence of heroin and was at the hospital for treatment. He is now charged with two counts of kidnapping, grand theft and felonious assault “for dragging Nita,” police said. He is in custody on $200,000 bond, according to WCPO. His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.
At first, their great-grandmother didn’t think the children had escaped. Their shrieks got the attention of Coburn, 69, who darted toward the car with “the most morbid feeling in the world,” knowing the kids were still inside. She said she had seen Singh sitting near the entrance to the emergency room but didn’t think much of it. Now, she was frantically chasing him as he took off in her car with her great-grandchildren.
“My grandma went out and grabbed a hold of the car, and he just kept opening and shutting the door trying to get her off,” Skylar said.
Not knowing Chance and Skylar had escaped out the back door, Coburn clung onto the car until Singh accelerated to the point where she couldn’t keep up.
“I wouldn’t let go of the door handle and he drug me a ways,” Coburn said to WKRC. She added: “I ate blacktop. I went down very roughly. I bounced.”
The brother and sister, who sustained minor injuries in the incident, thanked their great-grandmother for jumping into action.
“She would probably die for us,” Chance said to Fox 19. “She loves us.”
When Chance got free, he ran inside the hospital to report the carjacking to security, WKRC reported. Singh did not make it far, as police pulled over the stolen car a few miles away.
Muterspaw, the police chief, remarked how Chance’s instincts were “incredible at his age.”
“He pulled his sister out of the car with no concern for his own safety,” Muterspaw said.
Middletown police officer Connor Kirby, one of the officers who apprehended Singh, echoed his boss.
“While I was speaking to him, I’m looking at him, and it’s just this little kid and he did something extraordinary,” Kirby told WKRC. He added to WCPO: “It shows how extremely brave he was and how much he loves his sister.”
On social media, residents praised police and expressed support for the family.
“That young man is a hero and his little sister brave. They have a fierce grandma also,” one person wrote. “It’s nice to see smiles on their faces because this could have ended another way.”
When Coburn sat down late last week to look over the surveillance footage of the near kidnapping, Coburn said she still could not believe what she was seeing on film.
“Look at that,” she said to WKRC, gazing at the grainy footage. “God bless his little heart.”
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