A Virginia man was arrested Monday after police say he threw his 2-year-old son into a creek as he ran from officers.
Kyle Steven Sunday, 28, faces multiple charges, including child abuse and neglect, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.
An officer saw Sunday driving in the area of North Masanuttten and Thompson streets in Strasburg, Virginia, about 5 p.m. Monday while holding a toddler on his lap, the Strasburg Police Department said in a statement.
The officer tried to stop Sunday, but he got out of the car and ran with the child, police said. Then, another officer saw Sunday throw the child over an embankment and into a creek, according to authorities.
The officer stopped to rescue the child. Police say the child was treated for several lacerations and reunited with his mother, 27-year-old Kristi Ann Letima.
"If no one would have seen the child in the water, the worst case scenario is that the child would have drowned," Strasburg Police Chief Wayne Sager said.
Police say Letima called police earlier that day to report that her car had been stolen with her son inside, but investigators says she didn't tell them she was in a relationship with the man who took the car or that the boy was his son.
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Letima was later charged with filing a false police report, child neglect and endangerment, and obstruction of justice.
Sunday initially got away, but investigators learned he was hiding out in a home on Fairchild Drive, police say.
The department used the Code Red reverse 911 system to tell 3,100 people who live nearby that they were looking for the man. Residents' tips helped them home in on the neighborhood.
After multiple attempts to contact Sunday, officers entered the home with a K-9 unit and found him hiding in the attic. There was a scuffle and the ceiling caved in. At least one officer fell partly through.
"Mr. Sunday didn't want to go to jail," Sager said.
The boy was turned over to social sevices and is now in the care of his grandmother, police said.
"I literally stood out here with tears in my eyes to see it[the boy turned over to social services] happen," said witness Crystal St. Clair. "It makes you wonder what's going through people's heads."
During the arrest, an officer fired a weapon, but no one was hurt. The firing of that gun is under investigation by Virginia State Police.
At the time of the incident, Sunday was on probation.