BROOKSIDE, Ala. (WBRC) - On a rainy, Sunday afternoon, Jay Bostic and two friends pulled over on Brookside Coalburg Road to help who they thought was a broken-down driver.
Bostic tried to prevent the man, later identified by Brookside Police as Sean Sanders, from driving away. He said Sanders was able to get around in the old, white van, and sped away.
Bostic followed, calling 911 and gave updates on their location.
“We passed Brookside Town Hall and asked them to please come out in the road now, but we passed by them before they could come out,” Bostic explained.
“[Sanders] went into Sharon Heights Baptist Church and we knew it was a one-way in and one-way out, so we tried to block him in again. That’s when he struck our vehicle, went around us and Brookside Police got in pursuit of him there.”
“In less than about 40 seconds, we had our first officer on the scene,” said Chief Mike Jones, Brookside Police Department.
Chief Jones said Sanders refused officers’ commands to stop and during an attempt to block him between two patrol cars, he tried to run over an officer.
“The officer fired into the vehicle, which ultimately disabled it,” said Chief Jones.
The van slid off the road into a person’s front yard and for about twenty tense minutes, officers tried to negotiate with Sanders.
“I took a position right here inside the van,” said Corporal Wendy Brechin. “I had very limited visibility of anything.”
While she couldn’t see much, she heard the victim screaming for help.
“We are trained to help people and we want to do that as quick as possible without any injuries, and when you hear somebody in a position and they’re screaming for help and you can’t get to them, it’s very frustrating,” said Corporal Brechin.
“Officers tried to get in, but first had to get through barricades,” said Chief Jones.
Metal cages were covering the back windows, the doors were chained shut and thick blankets were bolted inside the van.
“We pulled the cage down and eventually were able to get limited visual access into the van and that’s when we first laid eyes on him and her. He had her laying on top of him with a knife to her throat,” said Chief Jones.
He added, “We still couldn’t see [both] hands, he was still screaming ‘Kill me’, she’s still screaming ‘Help me’. We could see her bleeding from her face and head and that’s when we made the decision to immediately taze the suspect.”
Sanders was pulled from the van and immediately put in handcuffs.
Chief Jones said the victim had severe wounds from Sanders cutting her with a knife and beating her repeatedly in the head with a car jack.
While seriously hurt, Chief Jones paused when considering what might have happened if the suspect wasn’t stopped.
“The outcome could have been much different in many different ways.”
“If you want to ask me about my personal feelings and my personal opinion, I believe God put everybody who was on the scene that day,” said Chief Jones. “I believe God handpicked them to be there for a reason. I think that the witness, Jay Bostic, is an angel on earth and I think had he not pulled up when he did, we would have had a much different outcome.”
Bostic said he was acting on “instinct” and was guided by God.
“Never did I ever think ‘I shouldn’t be,’ I thought that I should have done more,” said Bostic.
For their bravery, Bostic, Corporal Brechin, and six other officers will be honored at Brookside Town Hall Monday night.
Chief Mike Jones said two Brookside Police Officers and five Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputies will be honored Monday night.
They will all receive the Medal of Valor and a Lifesaving Award.
In addition, the Brookside officers will receive the Silver Star for Bravery.
The Congressional Badge of Bravery will be awarded in a separate ceremony.
Hero Jay Bostic will receive a lifesaving medal.
Sanders is charged with kidnapping first degree, attempted murder on a police officer, attempted murder of the victim, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, criminal trespassing first degree, attempting to elude and three counts of criminal mischief.