SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WPRI) ─ Amanda Disley and Benney Correa were picking up dinner when they spotted a dark blue Honda Civic eerily similar to the one believed to be involved in the kidnapping of an 11-year-old Springfield girl.
An hour or so earlier, Disley said she’d seen a post on social media soon after Massachusetts State Police issued an Amber Alert for Charlotte Moccia, who was reportedly forced into the car after getting off the school bus.
Disley said she quickly pulled up a photo of the vehicle believed to be involved in the kidnapping and dialed 911.
While Disley was on the phone, Correa began following the car down Harvey Street.
“The car was dark, dark, dark ─ at least a 5% tint ─ so I pulled up against it when I got to Harvey Street and I flashed my high beams, and the guy pulls up his hood and covers his face and started to dart up Harvey Street and I darted right behind him,” Correa told WesternMassNews.
In a video shared by the couple, Disley can be heard providing updates to a 911 dispatcher as her husband pursued the car.
“When he noticed that we were really chasing him all the way down the side streets, he just started blowing through every single red light and my husband blew threw every single red light with him,” Disley said.
Despite having their five children in the car with them, the couple chased the vehicle through Springfield in hopes of saving Moccia.
“I feel relieved we didn’t chase the wrong person and I feel relieved my husband stepped up and that we got the plates because the plates lead to them finding him on the highway because there was no notice of any plates,” Disley said.
The couple said they had to call off their chase because their truck ran out of gas. They also said their truck was banged up from trying to keep up with the car.
Disley and Correa weren’t the only ones to spot the vehicle, however. Police said they received several calls from drivers on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
“The biggest factor in this was the tips from the public,” Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said. “People were out looking for this car, it was amazing. Civilians spotted this car and helped us out immensely.”
Police who were detailing a work zone in the Sturbridge and Auburn area said they were able to stop the car by slowing traffic down to one lane.
Officers found Moccia safe inside the vehicle and took the driver, Miguel Rodriguez, 24, into custody at gunpoint.
Rodriguez was ordered held without bail Thursday on charges of kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon and intimidating a witness.
Moccia’s parents, Carl and Denise, released a statement Thursday, saying they’re “eternally grateful” for all of the community support.
“In particular, we’d like to thank Amanda Disley and her husband for their vigilance and courage for putting themselves in harm’s way to make sure she wasn’t out of their sight,” Moccia’s parents said. “The outpouring of love and support, near and far, is overwhelming.”
Disley said even though they are now paying to repair the damage to their truck, they’re thankful they were able to help police track Rodriguez down.
“It takes a village,” Disley said.
“It’s our city,” Correa added. “We don’t do that kind of stuff around here, that’s not how we play. There’s zero tolerance for that.”
Police alerted the public Thursday night not to donate to any GoFundMe pages using Moccia’s or Disley’s name since neither family has a fundraising campaign.