This dad from Minnesota came face to face with a scary situation but his quick-thinking resulted in all his children returning home safe.
For any parent, the harrowing thought of their children being abducted right before their eyes is undoubtedly a nightmare. Tragically, this nightmare turned into reality for Derek Gotchie, a Minnesota resident and devoted father of four. However, Gotchie's rapid response and unwavering bravery proved to be the saving grace, rescuing his children from an unthinkable fate, reports CBS News. He displayed his heroism by chasing after the carjacker who stole his SUV that had his four kids inside, all of them under the age of five.
It was just another day in this dad's life when he was on the 800 Block of Russel Avenue North to drop off some gifts to a friend. His wife Deanah asked Gotchie to shut the trunk after taking the last items out. "I'm shutting the trunk this guy jumps out of this taxi minivan and runs to my truck. I run to the door of my truck and I try and open it and he just takes off," Gotchie recalled about the terrible incident, which happened in December 2022.
That's when his fatherly instincts took over and he jumped into action. "I saw my truck heading down the road and I noticed the minivan was still on the road and it was running and the door was wide open and my first thought was I'm jumping in this van and I'm going to get my kids," he revealed. Near Penn and Plymouth Avenues North, Gotchie finally caught up with the thieves.
"We were heading down the wrong way of a one way and there was a vehicle coming towards us so he pulled off behind parked vehicles to let that car by and 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 dad continued.
The carjacker packed, ditched the stolen ride and ran out. "I ran up, I checked on the kids, I looked at him and he is halfway across the parking lot and he is just yelling, 'I'm sorry,'" Gotchie said. Thankfully, the kids were unharmed but the family's SUV sustained some damage. When Gotchie's wife made it to the scene, the police also arrived to tell her what happened. "First thing I said, 'Did you find my kids,' and they said, 'Your husband did,'" Deanah added.
Even though Gotchie got praised for his heroic deeds, he doesn't feel like he did anything special. "I'm not really a hero, I'm a dad doing dad things. My kids, they are coming home with me no matter what," he added. The cops continued their search for the carjacker but they were able to collect fingerprints from the stolen SUV. If caught, the suspect would also face possible kidnapping charges.
The whole incident was definitely unnerving and traumatic for the entire Gotchie family but their friends and a few others have joined hands to help them recover from the unpleasant experience. One of their family friends even started a GoFundMe page to help the family cover the costs of repairs on their vehicle. Sheletta Brundidge, a local radio host and podcaster of ShelettaMakesMeLaugh.com gave the family a surprising all-expense-paid stay at the Universal Resort in Orlando where the Gotchie family can relax and unwind from the terrible experience.