Authorities say a 4-year-old California boy narrowly escaped serious injury over the weekend when he jumped from a moving vehicle during a carjacking.
Peyton Phan and his mother, Hahn Tran, were visiting relatives in Stockton on Sunday, when she placed him in the back of her Honda Civic. Prior to leaving, Phan's mother went back into the residence to say goodbye to her family, Stockton police Officer Joe Silva said in a press release.
An opportunistic thief jumped into the driver's seat and took off with the frightened child still strapped inside.
"He was very scared," Silva told The Associated Press. "He didn't know what this man was going to do to him."
Neighbor Lawrence Collins told Sacramento's CBS13 he was outside and saw the boy exit the vehicle.
"I’d seen a car come flying real fast ... He was going like 60, 70 miles per hour,” he said. "He turned the corner so fast [that] I thought the kid just fell out."
Phan, according to Silva, sustained cuts and scrapes to his feet and legs when he jumped out of the vehicle.
His mother told KCRA 3 she is thankful for her son's quick thinking.
"I am so very proud of him and we are so blessed of how smart he is," Tran said. "You've got to be really proud of him ... I mean, even as (an) adult, that’s probably not a reaction we would have in that kind of moment."
The suspect, described as a 40-something Hispanic male, has not been identified. Authorities said they do not believe he was aware the boy was in the vehicle at the time of the theft.
Tran's vehicle, a 2001 silver Honda Civic 4-door, with California license plate 7EDX752, has not yet been recovered. Anyone with information is asked to call the Stockton Police Department at 209-937-8377.