‘I Can’t Let Him Take Them,’ 18 Year Old Thwarts Carjacking With Siblings In Back Seat

Apr 17, 2019, 6:08 PM | Updated: 6:32 pm

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — An 18-year-old woman fought off a would-be carjacker to save her younger brother and two sisters.

“My main priority the moment he got me out of the car, either get the kids out or get the keys,” said Joanna who did not want to release her last name in an exclusive interview with KSL TV news specialist Dan Rascon. “I was really scared.”

The crime happened about a hundred feet from the South Salt Lake Police Station at 2835 South and Main Street on Tuesday night. Police say Patrick Medina-Izarrara got into an argument with his wife while driving down Main Street and got out of the car.

Police say he then stood in the middle of the road trying to waive down cars. That’s when Joanna was driving by with her siblings in the back seat that ranged in age from nine years old to twelve.

“I kind of honked and then he came straight towards my car. He went straight to the driver’s side door and tried to open it. I was holding it shut and he finally got it open,” she said.

Joanna said the man reached over unbuckled her seat-belt and forced her out of the driver’s seat. He then sat down and was working to put it in drive when Joanna says she reached across him and turned off the car and took the keys from the ignition so he could not go anywhere.

“The main thing I was thinking is ‘I can’t let him take them, I just can’t let him take them, because I probably won’t see them again if I do,’” she said. “That was my main priority the moment he got me out of the car, either get the kids out or get the keys.”

Fortunately, at that moment a man in white pick-up truck saw what was happening and drove his truck right in front of her car.

“He’s amazing; he did a lot. He helped a lot,” said Joanna. “I want to tell him thank you so much.”

Bystanders then began to bang on the windows at the police station and officers came out and arrested Medina-Izarrara.

Police are calling Joanna a hero for her actions.

“It’s heroic, courageous,” said South Salt Lake City spokesperson Gary Keller. “A second later and he got that car in gear and he would have dragged her. Who knows what would have happened to the family in the car or that victim.”

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‘I Can’t Let Him Take Them,’ 18 Year Old Thwarts Carjacking With Siblings In Back Seat