VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A deputy and three teens avoided serious injury when a man tried to run them down in an attempt to get away, according to Volusia County sheriff's officials.
"He was aiming straight for them. We do have surveillance video from the store which also shows he was aiming straight for them," said Brandon Haught with the sheriff's office.
Investigators said the incident began when the mother of a teenage runaway told deputies her daughter was at the gas station, and she wanted them to detain her.
Deputy Thomas Proctor went to the station and found Michael Walsh, 21, in a car with three girls, two of whom were 16 and one was 17.
Proctor handcuffed two of the girls and placed them in the back his patrol car after learning one had a warrant for her arrest and the other was wanted for a probation violation.
The third girl was placed in the back of Proctor's to wait for her mother to pick her up.
Deputies said that's when Walsh decided to drive off.
"The driver of the vehicle, who just had a suspended license at that point, decided to get in his vehicle and drive away," said Haught.
But he quickly returned.
According to deputies, the three girls were in the back seat of the patrol car and the deputy and one of the girl's mothers were standing outside the car when the saw Walsh driving straight toward them.
Deputies said Proctor and the woman were able to get out of the way, just as the suspect smashed into the patrol car.
"If the one mother wouldn't have yelled, Tom Proctor would probably be dead today," said resident Tanya Thomas.
Officials said one of the girls is pregnant, but no one was seriously injured.
The two girls who were arrested were taken to the Juvenile Justice Center.
Walsh is being held in the Volusia County Jail.