(CNN) – An 11-year-old girl waiting for her school bus in Pensacola, Florida, managed to avoid an alleged kidnapping attempt and to safety Tuesday morning, authorities said.
A 30-year-old suspect was arrested later the same day after a search involving at least 50 officers and more personnel, Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons told reporters.
Surveillance video released by the sheriff’s office shows the girl kneeling on the grass at the bus stop as a white Dodge Journey pickup pulls up on the side of the street. The video shows a man getting out of the car and running towards the girl.
Simmons said the man was holding a knife.
Video shows the attempted kidnapping
The video shows the girl trying to escape before the man grabbed her to lead her to the vehicle. Then a scuffle is seen and the girl is freed from the suspect when they both fall to the ground. The girl can be seen running away as the man rushes to his car and drives away.
I can’t help but think that this could have ended very differently. If this 11-year-old victim hadn’t thought about fighting and fighting and never giving up, this could have ended terribly, ”Simmons said.
Investigators were able to obtain the license plate number of the vehicle and identify various locations where the suspect could be, Simmons said.
Authorities arrested Jared Paul Stanga, who is charged with attempted kidnapping of a child under the age of 13, aggravated assault with a weapon and simple battery, according to the sheriff’s office.
Stanga’s attorney, Robert Dees, had no comment.
Escambia County Judge Kerra Smith ordered Stanga to be held on bail of just over $ 1.5 million – $ 1 million for the attempted kidnapping charge, $ 500,000 for the aggravated assault charge, and $ 5,000 for the assault charge.
Simmons said the girl was playing with blue slime (a rubber toy) at the time of the abduction attempt and the same material was found on Stanga’s arm when he was arrested. He said that the silver bumper of the car allegedly used in the hijacking attempt had been freshly painted black.
Simmons detailed that the victim told authorities that the same man had approached her about two weeks ago at her bus stop and made her feel uncomfortable.
The girl told her mother and school officials what happened and her mother had accompanied her to the bus stop, Simmons said. She said Tuesday was the first day since the incident that her mother did not go with her to the bus stop.
The victim has some scratches and psychological trauma from her experience, but Simmons said she is working that out with her mother. He urged parents and teachers to talk with their children about safety at bus stops.
CNN’s Angela Barajas contributed to this report.