GIBSONTON — A Ruskin teenager is facing charges of carjacking and kidnapping after deputies say he crashed a stolen car Thursday, then tried to steal two other cars, including one with a toddler in the back seat.
The strange incident happened before 4 p.m. and ended two hours later with a chase through the woods near Eisenhower Middle School.
It all started when Hector Galarza, 17, crashed a stolen car on Bullfrog Creek Road, a half mile north of Old Big Bend Road, Hillsborough County deputies said. Right after the crash, Galarza got out of the car and ran up to a woman who had stopped to help. He attempted to steal her car, authorities said.
Nearby, a second woman had parked her car and gotten out to render aid to a passenger in the crashed vehicle. Galarza ran to her car, which had a 2-year-old in the back seat, and hopped into the driver's seat, authorities said.
When the woman saw what he was doing, she ran back to her car, jumped inside and fought with Galarza.
After a brief struggle, Galarza abandoned the vehicle and fled into the woods, authorities said. Deputies set up a search and soon arrested Galarza.
He faces charges of carjacking, kidnapping, leaving the scene of a crash with injury, battery, grand theft auto, and driving with a suspended license.
His passenger, 15-year-old Daniel Mariano of Wimauma suffered minor injuries in the crash.
He was not charged.