Brandie Weiler expected a terrific day with her daughters, 12-year-old Maddie and 7-year-old Mollie. They were headed to Busch Gardens last Saturday, ready for a day of fun. In moments, everything changed. Two cars right in front of them were involved in an accident. Brandie pulled over, grabbed her phone, and left her car to help.
As she was calling 911, Brandie spotted a man who had been involved in the accident walking toward her car. Knowing her girls were in the car, she started yelling and ran back over.
Meanwhile, Maddie kept her wits about her. She saw the man whom she described as 'psycho' climb into the car, mumbling to himself about having to get away. She put the transmission in Drive, knowing that the car wouldn't start while in that position. While the man, later identified as Paul Salsman, struggled to start the car, Maddie kicked and screamed and punched him, allowing Mollie to escape the car's back seat. Salsman was soon restrained and has been charged with several felony counts.
Brandie is grateful she and her husband taught Maddie how to stand up for herself. When asked where she got the presence of mind to fight back, Maddie, an avid horseback rider, shrugged and said, "If I can control a 1500-pound animal, then I sure was gonna try to take care of him." She comes from a family of police officers and fire fighters, and has been told many times that if in danger, she has the right to kick, scream, hit, gouge eyes, whatever it takes.
Maddie injured the growth plate in her wrist during the altercation. For anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation, Maddie has one word of advice. "Fight."