Early Tuesday morning around 2:30, Sonia Duarte thought she was in labor and her husband started the family van, planning to head to the hospital. But a car thief took advantage of the situation and stole it, leaving the pregnant woman stranded. Sonia says, "I just prayed to God that everything would go okay. They say that when something bad happens it's because something good is going to come." Sgt. Wayne Ruffner says, "The broadcast came out and luckily three of our deputies were in the area. A chase ensued and the vehicle was spiked."
The thief, who sheriff's deputies say had multiple outstanding warrants, led them in circles around Seneca, Meridian, Pawnee, and Harry. Ruffner says, "The last thing we want to have to do is chase people through town, but luckily everything worked out. No one was injured. We have our bad guy." Sonia's husband was there when the man was arrested. Sonia says, "He told my husband that he was sorry for what he did but my husband said that he should be sorry for himself."
Deputies used spikes to stop the van, which shredded the tires. The family did get it back but it is not drivable. Sonia says they do not have insurance. She says, "That was our only vehicle so it's kind of upsetting why people do those kind of things."
It's not illegal to leave your car running, but authorities strongly suggest you do not. Ruffner says, "I know a lot of people do it. It's winter time. Your car has frosted over and you're trying to warm it up before you leave. But people drive around, especially in the morning hours, and they look for those things."
After paramedics took Sonia to the hospital, doctors sent her home. They told her it wasn not time for the baby to come yet, but she hopes when it is, the day will be a happier one.
Sheriff deputies say the chase lasted about 35 minutes, reaching speeds of 80 mph. Luckily, they say at 2:30 a.m. there was not much traffic.