2-hour truck chase ends in $24,000 crash

16-year-old faces charges for vehicle theft, assault

Posted: Monday, December 09, 2002

In a little more than two hours early Sunday, a 16-year-old boy allegedly stole two vehicles, led police on a high-speed chase and crashed into a concrete wall, injuring himself and a friend, police said.

The boy was arrested and police said charges also could be filed against a 14-year-old passenger. The boys' names were not released.

Both teenagers sustained minor injuries as a result of the accident and were taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital. They were released in good condition by Sunday afternoon.

The driver faces several felony charges including two counts of first-degree vehicle theft, failure to stop for an officer and third-degree assault. He also was charged with driving without a valid license, a misdemeanor. Capt. Tom Porter said further charges, including failing to render aid following an accident and leaving the scene of an accident, could be filed.

Police received a call around 1:12 a.m. Sunday of a suspicious Chevrolet pickup truck in the Columbia Boulevard area, according to a police press release. When a resident went to talk to the people in the truck, the driver sped away, police said.

Police caught up with the truck near the intersection of Taku Boulevard and Mendenhall Loop Road. Police said the driver shut off the vehicle's lights, turned north on Loop Road, drove through the Thunder Mountain Trailer Park and headed back to Loop Road. Porter said officers gave up chasing the vehicle near Glacier Spur Road when speeds reached a high and dangerous rate.

Police found the teens at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center a short time later after the truck struck a concrete wall in the center's parking lot. The driver attempted to flee on foot, but was caught by police. The 14-year-old passenger remained in the vehicle.

Both boys were taken to the hospital where the driver was treated for a minor cut and bruises and the passenger was treated for a broken arm, said Marijo Toner, a hospital spokeswoman.

The vehicle sustained about $4,000 in damage and the wall sustained about $15,000 to $20,000 in damage, Porter said.

Police alleged the truck was stolen from a residence in the Valley Boulevard area. Police believe the boy stole another vehicle in the Douglas area earlier in the night and abandoned it after it had mechanical difficulties. It was later recovered in the Valley Boulevard area.

The driver was taken to the Johnson Youth Center early Sunday morning and held without bail.

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