Florida resident James Williams, 54, was arrested after fleeing the scene of a car crash and leaving three children behind, according to ABC 15. The family had been traveling for the holidays.
As reported by ABC 15, The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says that Williams was in a car accident on Turkey Creek Road in Plant City and ran away on foot, leaving the kids in the dust on a road described as dark. The incident occurred at around 9:30 PM on Monday.
The children, who were left distraught and in a state of "panic," are aged 7, 10 and 11. Their names are currently being withheld from the public. Williams is their great-uncle and had been temporarily entrusted with their care. He had been reportedly leaving his family's Christmas celebrations.
Williams seemed to use the children by instructing them to help give him a leg up over a wall surrounding the neighborhood in order to evade police before abandoning them, according to family members.
"They started crying and screaming and yelling for help," said Edwin Rodriguez, who witnessed the scene. "I could tell he was definitely trying to cover himself, take care of himself, before the kids."
Williams has a history of prior criminal behavior including a plethora of drug and theft charges, according to The Florida Department of Corrections.
Williams was found about a mile away from the scene. He will now face desertion charges, according to WCTV.
Williams is currently being held on $6,000 bond. Family members say they do not plan on bailing him out. No lawyer was listed on jail records.
[Photo: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]