Dad chases down carjacker to save 4 young kids

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 1:42 AM MST
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BURNSVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) - A Minnesota father sprang into action when a carjacker stole his SUV with his four young children still inside.

Derek Gotchie and his family were dropping gifts off to a friend Wednesday. His wife, Deanah Gotchie, took the last item out and asked him to shut the trunk to keep their four kids, all under age 5, warm in their SUV.

“I’m shutting the trunk. This guy jumps out of this taxi-minivan, runs to my truck and jumps in. I run to the door of my truck, and I try to open it and he just takes off,” Derek Gotchie said.

The father says his “dad instincts” took over.

“I see my truck heading down the road, and I noticed the van is still on the road. It’s running, and the door is wide open. My first thought was, ‘I’m jumping in this van, and I’m going to get my kids,’” he said.

Within a few blocks, Derek Gotchie caught up with the suspected carjacker driving his SUV, who pulled off behind some parked cars to let another car go by while heading the wrong way down a one-way street.

“As soon as he turned sideways to get around the parked vehicle, I just rammed the back of my truck, trying to pin him against a fence,” the father said.

The suspect jumped out of the SUV and ran.

“I run up. I check on the kids. I look at him. He’s halfway across the parking lot, and he’s just yelling, ‘I’m sorry,’” Derek Gotchie said.

All four of the kids were OK. The family’s SUV was damaged but repairable.

When Deanah Gotchie made it to the scene, police were the first to tell her what happened.

“First thing I said, ‘Did you find my kids?’ And they said, ‘Your husband did,’” she said.

She says she’s not surprised by her husband’s actions, calling him a hero.

But Derek Gotchie says he was just doing what he needed to do.

“Not really a hero. I’m a dad doing dad things. My kids, they’re coming home with me, no matter what,” he said.

Investigators say the minivan the suspect was driving was stolen. They managed to obtain fingerprints from the Gotchies’ SUV but haven’t made any arrests yet.

Police say the suspect is facing possible carjacking and kidnapping charges.