05/18/2024

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Joshua Dornellas

Toddler suffers burns to 90 percent of his body after father fleeing police sets vehicle on fire with boy still inside: Cops

Joshua Dornellas, inset, allegedly kidnapped his son Bennett after assaulting the boy’s mother and led cops on a chase before setting the car on fire with the boy still inside. (Bennett: GoFundMe; Dornellas: Anderson County Sheriff’s Office)

A 31-year-old man allegedly assaulted his 3-year-old son’s mother and then took the boy hostage in his truck where he led police on a multi-state pursuit before setting the vehicle on fire and jumping out with the boy still inside. Officers rescued the boy but not before he suffered burns on 90 percent of his body.

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    Police say 31-year-old Joshua Dornellas assaulted the mother of his child in Benton, South Carolina. After kidnapping his son, he hopped in his truck and started driving south on I-85. Anderson County deputies said in a press release that they spotted the vehicle but followed at a safe distance because of safety concerns. After he crossed in to Georgia, the Georgia State Patrol began a pursuit.

    Around mile marker 166, Dornellas allegedly set his vehicle on fire and jumped out of the truck at 55 mph. The boy was still inside. The vehicle crashed into an embankment and burst into flames, cops said. Anderson County deputies pulled the boy out of the car. Paramedics rushed the boy to a burn center in Augusta, Georgia.

    According to a GoFundMe, the boy, Bennett, suffered third-degree burns to his entire body. The GoFundMe has raised around $50,000 to pay for his recovery. He remains in critical condition and sedated.

    “Our family wants to take this moment to recognize the officers, paramedics, and first responders involved in saving Bennett’s life. Specifically, to the officers who risked their lives to pull Bennett from the burning vehicle—you personify the greatness of what the human spirit is capable of. We will never be able to repay your bravery,” the post said.

    Dornellas has history of domestic violence, Anderson County deputies said. He allegedly left five children under the age of 11 home alone on April 21. A week later he was charged with domestic violence after he assaulted the child’s mother, according to deputies.

    Dornellas remains at a Georgia hospital receiving treatment. Charges are pending.

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    The post Toddler suffers burns to 90 percent of his body after father fleeing police sets vehicle on fire with boy still inside: Cops first appeared on Law & Crime.