4-year-old Jaden Santiago was one of the three people inside the car police say was struck by 39-year-old Gregory Alston on Friday.
Police originally stopped Alston, who was driving a 2001 Silver Volkswagen Passat, on the 4200 block of North Broad Street for traffic violations, according to investigators. Police say they asked Alston for his license. Alston allegedly responded by saying, “No, but I got this,” and pointed a handgun directly at the officer before fleeing in his vehicle.
Investigators say both police on the ground as well as a helicopter pursued Alston as he sped through the Philadelphia streets. The chase, which was caught on video, came to an end when Alston’s car struck a 1995 Tan Honda Accord on 1000 West Ontario Street. Alston then exited the vehicle and fled on foot until he was apprehended by police on the 900 block of West Russell Street.
Inside the Accord was Jaden along with his father, Danny Roman, 36, and mother Jenny Santiago, 26. Roman’s brother Javier says the three were heading out to eat. Roman was killed in the crash while both Jaden and Santiago were injured. Philadelphia Highway Patrol officers Joe Moore and Michael Alice were the two men who helped save the young boy’s life.
“When we first saw him we didn’t know what to expect,” said Officer Moore. “We thought the worst. But once he started to breathe and cry we were a lot happier.”
“We just hopped on the hood of the car,” said Officer Alice. “You could smell the gas and you could see the smoke. I just cut the boy out and I handed him out to Joe and another officer.”
“He had glass in his mouth, he was bleeding, he was cut from his face,” said Officer Moore.
Rather than wait for ambulance to arrive on the scene, the two officers sprang into action and drove Jaden to the hospital in their police cruiser while keeping him conscious.
“I was driving and Mike was holding him,” said Officer Moore. “Mike said ‘he’s not awake’ and he slapped his foot, and then he woke up and started breathing.”
After taking Jaden to the hospital on Friday, the two officers, both fathers themselves, returned to St. Christopher on Saturday to visit the boy and make good on a deal. They told Jaden they would buy him a Spiderman and Thomas the Tank Engine toy as long as he promised to keep his spirits high. Both Jaden and the officers stayed true to their words.
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“He shook my hand and he said ‘deal,’” said Officer Alice.
While Jaden is now out of the hospital after receiving treatment for head injuries, his mother Jenny is still in critical condition. She suffered a broken jaw and internal injuries according to Danny’s brother. No word yet on where Jaden is currently staying.