DUMFRIES, Va. - Ashley Torres said it is police officers like Heidi Braun who should make headlines at a time when law enforcement is under intense scrutiny.
“She says, ‘I'm going to buy you guys a car seat,’ and I said, ‘No way, you're not going to do this,’” Torres recalled.
The Prince William County Police Department captain bought Torres a new car seat after a train crash destroyed everything inside her car.
“I said, ‘No, I can't allow you to do this,’ and she got out of the car and continued to walk into the store,” Torres told us. “She said, ‘Pick your car seat, pick one out.’ She took us to the register, paid for it, walked us out and continued to bring us home.”
Braun and Torres crossed paths Saturday night when Torres’ car got caught on the train tracks in Dumfries.
“A car was coming the other way, we swerved out of the way of the car, fell off the side of the train tracks … and got caught on the train tracks,” said Torres.
Torres grabbed her owner’s manual and left everything behind.
“A train came along, smashed my car into a million pieces,” she said. “My engine flew out.”
That is when Capt. Braun arrived and offered a ride home.
“She's a 20-year-old young lady and she and her partner were young, they have a 1-year-old child and just seemed like someone that has come across some tough times and didn't always have it easy,” Braun said. “[She] has chosen to move forward and try to do good things and try to make for herself and her child, and this is sort of a huge disadvantage when your vehicle is completely demolished.”
The conversation during the car ride struck a chord with the veteran police captain.
“She mentioned that it took her two paychecks to save up to buy that car seat,” said Capt. Braun. “And I was on the way to take her and her partner home, and Walmart was right there, so I just stopped in to replace the car seat.”
It was a kind gesture that left quite the impression on a young impressionable mind.
“I'm 20 -- I'm supposed to be one of those kids that's out here saying, ‘Screw the cops’ and all of that, and to actually have an officer [do this for] me, all I kept saying is, ‘I couldn't believe this,’” said Torres.
Torres said she plans to keep in touch with Braun.
The train that struck Torres’ car was traveling from New York to Miami, but was able to continue its trip.
There were reportedly no injuries or damage to the train.