New Mexico acting on instinct, a mom was caught on camera clinging to the hood of her Hyundai Santa Fe to try to stop a carjacker who fled with her 11-month-old son and six-year-old autistic daughter.
Surveillance video shows the tiger’s mom, Melody Maldonado, a 33-year-old librarian from Hobbs, New Mexicoclinging to the front of the car as it speeds down East Navajo Drive at about 8:30 p.m. on Independence Day.
Fiercely protective Maldonado told MailOnline she felt no fear as she clung to the speeding car, shouting for the accused thief, 29-year-old Regina Castillo, to stop.
Regina Castillo, 29, was charged with carjacking with two children
“She definitely heard me. I shouted for her to stop and that my children were in the car,” she said. “She kept driving. We went quite far, through the intersection, past Alsup. She swerved to make me fall.’
The brave mom eventually lost her grip and fell onto the East Navajo Drive roadway, but immediately jumped up and ran back to the Allsup’s store, not realizing her left foot was in the creek, where she got the clerk to call the police.
A Hobbs police dash cam shows Maldonado telling police which way the car was going shortly after the 911 call and trying to figure out how to get her children back.
Protective mother Melody Maldonado, 33, a librarian, risked her own life to save Ma’Rae, 6, left, and 11-month-old Micah, right
“When I find my phone. My phone is in the car. I can find out where the car is,” she says in the recording.
She told the Mail: “I didn’t care what happened to the car. I just wanted my children back.’
Meanwhile, Castillo was driving around the dusty streets of the New Mexico town bordering Texas, and ended up dumping 6-year-old Ma’Rae, who has autism, on a random street.
Maldonado, pictured here on the hood of her speeding Hyundai Santa Fe, said she suffered a broken leg when she was thrown from the vehicle
Melody Maldonado, 33, caught on camera by Hobbs police frantically instructing police on how to get her children back
Regina Castillo, 29, who had three outstanding warrants, left her car with an 11-month-old baby inside
Regina Castillo, 29, pictured on police dash cam trying to flee on foot after abandoning the stolen car
Hobbs Police apprehended Castillo in a backyard after she tried to flee on foot
“She left my daughter outside because my daughter had a phone and she thought she was being watched on the phone,” she said.
With 11-month-old Micah still in the car, police said, Castillo led them on a high-speed chase that ended with her jumping out of the vehicle at the intersection of Da Paso and Bender streets and trying to flee on foot.
Body camera footage from the Hobbs Police Department shows Castillo being chased through the backyard until she is finally grabbed by several officers and handcuffed.
Castillo is pictured during his arrest for stealing a car with two children inside
“I hope this never happens to anyone else,” Maldonado said.
In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, she said the whole ordeal took about 20-30 minutes.
“It was long, 20-30 minutes,” she said.
The drama began when Maldonado stopped at a Stripes Convenience store to buy a baby bottle for little Mickey, leaving the kids in the car for a minute.
When she couldn’t find what she was looking for, she headed back to the car, but said Castillo met her at the exit and walked with her to the car.
As soon as the mother of two unlocked the driver’s side door, she said Castillo pushed her aside with the keys and jumped into the Hyundai.
Maldonado jumped on the hood of the car as Castillo put it in reverse, accelerated backwards and narrowly crashed into gas stations at the gas station.
“I kept banging on the window, telling her to stop,” Maldonado said.
She said Ma’Rae was a little shaken up after being left outside, but some good Samaritans took care of her and called the police.
It wasn’t until she saw her mother being loaded into the ambulance that she became alarmed.
“She was a little shocked,” Maldonado said. “My son is too young to speak.”
Maldonado was being treated for a broken left foot and “a lot of road rash.”
It is still unclear why Castillo stole the car. At the time of her arrest, she had three outstanding warrants for failure to appear in court on charges of concealing identity, shoplifting and traffic violations.
She is expected back in court in the case on July 18.