Three teenagers have been charged with felony assault for throwing rocks at a passing vehicle this summer, which severely injured an unsuspecting 6-year-old boy in the vehicle’s backseat.
Chaleb E. Calandra, 18, Noel Toribio, 17, and Jared H. Cheatham, 17, were indicted by a grand jury in Juneau last Friday in connection to the July 15 incident.
Prosecutors said in charging documents the shattered glass from the vehicle’s broken back window lacerated the victim’s cheek. The laceration required 17 stitches, but will still leave a scar, documents stated. The boy also had glass removed from his eye.
The boy suffered a total of three facial fractures and injured muscles that caused facial drooping and left him unable to smile properly. A rock was also found inside the vehicle, charging documents allege.
Police said they had already received one report of a vehicle being struck by rocks moments before they received a 911 call from the injured boy’s mother.
Police responded to the area — the intersection of Mendenhall Loop Road and Stephen Richards Memorial Drive in the Mendenhall Valley — and witnessed rocks striking the side of a third vehicle, charging documents state. The brown mini-van slowed but did not stop.
Officers on foot then discovered the three boys — one of them with a rock in hand — on a trail that leads to Mendenhall Loop Road.
Charging documents state police interviewed Calandra and Cheatham, who admitted throwing rocks at the vehicles, and Toribio was interviewed later with permission from his mother.
Toribio stated the three took some beer from a cooler in front of a house on Mendenhall Loop Road and then threw rocks at the three different vehicles, according to an affidavit. The affidavit states Toribio did not know who actually broke the window because they were all throwing rocks at the same time.
Police interviewed the injured boy’s mother, who said she thought at first they were being shot at, according to the affidavit filed by Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams. The victim’s mother was driving her Pontiac Sports Utility Vehicle on Mendenhall Loop Road with her daughter and two sons in the car. She said she did not see who threw the rocks, the affidavit states.
In addition to physical injury, the traumatic event took an emotional toll on the injured 6-year-old, she told police. She said her son now cries each time he has to get in a car because he is afraid he will get hit with a rock again, according to charging documents.
The boy’s name is withheld in court documents, and he is only identified by his initials.
Calandra, Toribio and Cheatham were released to their parents after the incident as the police investigation continued. A summons requiring their appearance in court was issued to them in late October as the District Attorney’s Office charged them with the crime.
They were then each indicted by a grand jury on Nov. 2 on one count of assault in the first, second and third degree.
First-degree assault is a class ‘A’ felony, punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison; second-degree assault is a ‘B’ felony, punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison; and third-degree assault is a ‘C’ felony, punishable by five years in prison.
They are all scheduled to be jointly arraigned on Tuesday in Juneau Superior Court before Judge Louis Menendez.
• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.