The Dallas mom who wrestled a carjacking suspect to the ground after he slammed into the minivan she and her child were in got a big surprise Thursday: a brand-new van.
Video of Jessica Liesmann, 29, went viral Wednesday when she confronted the driver, who was fleeing police, after he slammed into her minivan at a red light in North Dallas.
Her 13-year-old son and her boyfriend were also in the car.
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Liesmann, not knowing the man was involved in a police chase, immediately jumped out of her van, rushed over to the driver and slammed his car door into his body before grabbing him by the shirt.
Then, with the help of her boyfriend, she wrestled the man to the ground until police arrived, earning her a new nickname, courtesy of Dallas police: Mama Bear.
“He was just looking at me. I was expecting something to come out of his mouth, but it didn’t,” Liesmann said.
Officers arrested 40-year-old Artrai Alexander for aggravated robbery and evading arrest.
The shocking video caught the attention of the "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" team on KISS-FM, who asked Liesmann to be on their show Thursday morning.
“I was like, wow! It just kind of caught me,” said cast member “Big Al" Mack.
Mack said initially he and the other cast members just wanted to talk to Liesmann about what happened. But the more he heard her story, the more he wanted to help.
Mack found out that Liesmann had lost her 4-year-old son last year due to a medical condition, and without her van, she wouldn’t have a way to drive her two other children to school.
Mack called Southwest Kia in Mesquite, and together, they teamed up to give Liesmann a new van Thursday afternoon.
He said part of the reason was due to the show’s namesake, Kidd Kraddick, who died in 2013.
“Kidd’s not here any longer, but I try to make him proud. So I said Kidd would not just send this woman out and say bye. He would do something. So that’s what we came up with. She needs a new car,” said Mack.
When Mack and employees at Southwest Kia presented the van to Liesmann, she immediately started crying as she first sat in the driver’s seat.
“I was just completely shocked at what happened. I cannot tell you how grateful I am. I really am. And every time I think about it, it makes me want to cry,” Liesmann said.
“I just feel like I was doing what any parent would do. So thank you,” she said.
Liesmann also got an apology Thursday.
In his first TV interview, the driver who police say caused the chase and crash apologized.
“I apologize to them for this whole incident. I apologize and hope JT (referring to Leismann’s 13-year-old son, TJ) be OK and the other people that were injured as well,” said Alexander, from the Dallas County Jail.
“I accept that. God always says you forgive to be forgiven, so I thank you for your apology,” Liesmann said after NBC 5 showed her video of what Alexander said.
Behind the wheel of her brand-new van, Mama Bear couldn’t ask for more.
“We have some great people here absolutely. I’m proud to be a Texan,” she said.