Thanksgiving rampage: Drugged driver steals truck with 14-year-old girl inside

Drugged driver steals truck with teen inside, after crashing into an Appleton International Airport Public Safety vehicle. (WLUK/Chris Schattl)

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY (WLUK) -- A 32-year-old man is in custody after stealing at least two vehicles, one of which had a teen inside.

FOX 11 talked to a mother and daughter who had an interesting Thanksgiving night.

Black Friday shopping could've ended badly for two teens . They heard a crash around 11 p.m. near Glennview Drive and State Highway 96 in Greenville and knew they had to help.

FOX 11 is not naming the witnesses involved to protect their identities. Those witnesses were a mom and her 14-year-old-daughter.

“We were asking him if he was okay, was there anyone else in the car, and he wasn’t answering, and then just like that he took off and started running toward my truck,” a witness said. “The other guy that was there kind of started screaming, ‘He’s taking off!’ So, my sister and I, and that guy all started chasing him,” a witness said. “He jumped in my car, and my teenage daughter and her best friend were still in the truck.”

The man sped off in the woman's black F-150, but not before hitting her sister’s car.

The witnesses'14-year-old daughter, managed to jump out of the truck while the man started driving away.

Her best friend wasn't so lucky. Child safety locks kept her locked inside the truck.

What’s more, the woman realized her husband’s rifle was also still in her truck.

“She was still in the truck, and I was so worried about her,” the woman's daughter said. “I fell on the ground and just started bawling. I was like ‘You have to find her, you have to find her!’ and I was so scared.”

“I was on the phone with her the whole entire time, telling her to tell him to let her out,” the mom said. “I kept telling her to stay on the phone, absolutely sobbing. It was awful. I wouldn’t wish it on any parent.”

Minutes later, the girl ended up at a gas station, unharmed.

“I shared with the police officers that if you tell anything to him, tell him thank you for letting her out,” Carrie Powell said. “It was a terrible thing that he did, but he did pull over and let her out.”

“When they finally got her back, we hugged for like 10 minutes,” the teen said. “It was so scary.”

The Thanksgiving rampage began even before the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office got a complaint of a reckless driver near Highways 76 and 96 in Greenville just before 11 p.m.


Initially, the man was driving a four-door red sedan. He intentionally rammed the car into a house, injuring one person inside of it. After that, he rammed the car, again, into five other doors on that same property before hitting a sixth garage door.

Officials said the man ditched the red car and stole a black Cadillac Escalade from that property before crashing into an Appleton International Airport Public Safety truck, and then stealing the woman's truck.

“Something of this magnitude is very rare," said Outagamie County Sheriff's Office Staff Sergeant Wang Lee . "Something this complex, you know, we haven’t seen this in a very long time."

The teen had left her cellphone in the truck. Using her "Find My Phone" app turned out to help officers locate the man who stole the truck.

On their way to find him, officers said another call came in of another hit-and-run, this time in the Medina area.

That call described the black truck the man had stolen when he kidnapped the teen.

When deputies made it to Medina however, they couldn't find the man or the truck.

Instead they found both in the area of Highway 96 and Industrial Drive in the Town of Dale.

He was in a field where he tried to run from officers, but was arrested shortly after.

He could face a slew of charges, including kidnapping, reckless endangerment, multiple counts of vehicle theft, multiple counts of damage to property, hit-and-run causing injury, burglary and disorderly conduct.

Authorities said he had methamphetamine on him and drug use was a factor in the incident.

Officials are waiting on toxicology results to determine if the man was on other drugs.

No word on what will happen to all the vehicles damaged during the man's hit-and-run spree.


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