Deputy Darell Edwards quickly whisked away the terrified girl to provide comfort, ending a standoff that lasted for more than three hours in Diamond Bar Tuesday evening.
"Seeing her exit that car I just wanted to go over and physically take hold of her, let her know it's OK," Edwards said.
The moment came after the girl's mother, Margaret Hassan, led authorities on a reckless chase through the San Gabriel Valley. She weaved dangerously through traffic, ignored red lights and crashed into multiple cars before coming to a stop.
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During the standoff, authorities used a drone to try to see inside the vehicle. Authorities say Hassan repeatedly told deputies she was alone. Cpt. Joseph Williams noted that the car was cluttered with clothing, debris and trash.
They only saw Hassan in the car, leading them to believe the girl was possibly in the trunk.
Had they known the child was inside, different measures would have been taken, Williams said.
"Tactics would have been completely different at that particular point, there would have been more negotiating with the safety of the child in mind," Williams said.
Investigators say Hassan may have mental health issues that could have contributed to the wild and violent pursuit.
The 9-year-old girl was not hurt and she is now in the custody of Child Protective Services.
Hassan faces a list of charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, child endangerment and felony evading.