A “visibly intoxicated” man over the weekend entered a parked vehicle with its engine still on — and with three boys inside — and then led police on a high-speed chase as the kids called 911 to give location updates, authorities said.
What are the details?
Police told WHP-TV the suspect — 44-year-old Jason Harris — allegedly stole the vehicle Sunday from a Walmart parking lot in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
He did so after the boys’ father got out of the vehicle to go inside the Walmart, the Kansas City Star reported.
Police told WHP that Harris drove the stolen vehicle at high speeds, and the children inside pleaded with him to slow down.
State troopers told WHTM-TV the children also called 911 from the vehicle and communicated where they were headed. WHP said that information helped troopers pinpoint the vehicle’s location.
One of the kidnapped boys told 911 he was in a vehicle with a driver “he believed was drunk,” state police said in an affidavit, according to the Star, which added that troopers who tried to catch up were traveling at speeds over 120 miles per hour.
At one point, the driver struck a curb, causing “significant damage,” the paper said, adding that troopers soon caught up to the vehicle and boxed it in.
“I opened the door and gave him verbal commands to get out,” one of the troopers wrote in the affidavit, the Star reported. “As he did, the vehicle kept rolling forward until he put it into park.”
More from the paper:
The driver, who was “visibly intoxicated,” was handcuffed, authorities said. Troopers observed “he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage about his breath … as well as glassy blood shot eyes.”
Authorities said they asked him how drunk he was, and he replied “really drunk, I’ve been drinking a lot man.”
The driver admitted he stole the vehicle because he ran out of gas and needed to get to Harrisburg, about 40 miles northeast of Gettysburg, according to court records. He said he was heading there to buy heroin, according to the records.
The driver said he heard kids in the vehicle but continued driving anyway, authorities told the Star. The three children in the backseat were unharmed, WHP reported.
Harris was charged with three counts of kidnapping a minor, endangering the welfare of children, fleeing or attempting to elude officers, DUI/unsafe driving, and other traffic offenses, WHTM said, adding that he was sent to Adams County Prison after being unable to post $50,000 bail.
Three children kidnapped at Gettysburg Walmart, suspect charged