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Caught on camera: Deputy saves kids from stolen car

Posted at 1:10 PM, Oct 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-16 13:11:10-04

"This guy is driving my Dad's car."

That's what one Hillsborough County Deputy heard the minute he approached a truck reported to be stolen.

Now that deputy is recounting the moment he saved those two children.

"It was so quick, it happened within minutes," Deputy Jonathan Pazmino Alvarez recalled.

Deputy Pazmino-Alvarez was working a separate call when he heard a plea that shocked him.

"Out of nowhere, we see this gentleman running behind his truck yelling "He just took my truck with my kids." And he looked at me, pointing at the truck," he recounted.

Body camera footage shows Pazmino Alvarez getting in his squad car to follow the truck, calling for the driver to pull over.

"Give me the car keys," he says before reassuring the children. "I know that's not him. I saw him running this way."

Inside the truck were two children, an eight-year-old and a four-year-old.

"They were crying. They were super upset. And as soon as they saw me, they lined up, they stopped crying. And they pointed out like 'He's not my father, " he said.,

It's unclear if Kevin Smith, the man accused of stealing the truck, knew the children were in the truck.

Deputy Pazmino Alvarez says Smith didn't say anything after he was read his Miranda Rights.

Despite that, the Deputy says the way he handled the call changed because of those kids.

"Typically, for any high-risk call, we will have to draw our guns out and make sure that we get every person out of the vehicle one by one. But knowing that there were kids there, I didn't want this person in the front of the wheel to do anything irrational that could like harm the kids.," he said.

Pazmino Alvarez previously taught kids swimming. Which made this particular call special to him. A call that ended in gratitude all around.

" I talked to the dad who was so brave he said to me, 'I'm so glad you were there and I looked back and said, 'Wow, I'm glad I was there too," he added.

Kevin Smith was taken into custody. He faces one count of Grand Theft of Motor Vehicle and two counts of Felony Kidnapping.