Broward County, Florida - June 28, 2024

In a harrowing incident that unfolded on Tuesday, a mother's quick thinking and determination prevented a potentially tragic car theft involving her three-year-old child.

According to the Broward County Sheriff's Office, the incident occurred at approximately 11:00 a.m. in the parking lot of a shopping center in Coconut Creek, Florida. The mother, identified as 32-year-old Jessica Martinez, had left her running car unattended for a brief moment while unloading groceries.

As she approached the driver's side door, she witnessed a man, later identified as 25-year-old Christopher Smith, entering her vehicle. Her three-year-old son, Ethan, was strapped into his car seat in the back.

Horrified, Martinez immediately reacted by clinging to the side mirror of the car and shouting for Smith to stop. However, Smith ignored her pleas and sped away with Ethan still inside.

Martinez frantically called 911, providing the dispatcher with the suspect's car description and direction of travel. She also used her cellphone to track the vehicle's location through a GPS app.

Meanwhile, Smith led deputies on a high-speed chase through several city streets. Deputies deployed spike strips to puncture the suspect's tires, but he continued driving erratically for several miles.

As the pursuit entered a residential neighborhood, Martinez used her GPS app to guide deputies to the suspect's location. Deputies surrounded the vehicle and ordered Smith to surrender. After a brief standoff, Smith was apprehended without incident.

Ethan was found safe and unharmed in the back seat of the stolen car. He was immediately reunited with his mother, who expressed immense gratitude to the deputies and the community for their assistance.

Christopher Smith was arrested and charged with carjacking, child endangerment, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement. He is currently being held in the Broward County Jail without bond.

Sheriff Gregory Tony commended Martinez for her heroic actions. "This is a testament to the incredible bond between a mother and her child," he said. "Her quick thinking and determination undoubtedly prevented a tragedy."

The Broward County Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate the incident and is urging the public to report any suspicious activity or individuals.

  • Suspect: Christopher Smith, 25 years old
  • Victim: Jessica Martinez, 32 years old, and her three-year-old son, Ethan
  • Location: Shopping center parking lot in Coconut Creek, Florida
  • Time: Approximately 11:00 a.m., June 28, 2024
  • Charges: Carjacking, child endangerment, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement
  • Status: Suspect arrested and charged; child safe and reunited with mother

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