Austintown 16-year-old arrested after stolen vehicle chase


Staff report

AUSTINTOWN

A 16-year-old is accused of stealing a vehicle and leading police on a high-speed chase through the township.

The unlicensed teen, whose identity juvenile justice officials were unable to confirm Tuesday, reportedly stole the Ford Transit work van from the guardian with whom he lives along North Beverly Avenue, according to a township police report.

Township officers spotted the teen just before 11:30 p.m. Friday driving along Mahoning Avenue without headlights and pursued him for about 10 miles. He reached speeds of 60 mph along North Roanoke Avenue, which is a 25 mph street, and ignored stop signs along Maple Avenue and stop lights along Salt Springs Road, according to the report. The teen also evaded “stop sticks” placed by the Ohio State Highway Patrol along North Meridian Road, then revved up to 75 mph in the 35 mph zone.

Officers from various agencies and task forces joined the chase.

The teen ultimately crashed the vehicle into a utility pole near the intersection of Claridge and Lancaster drives, in an attempt to avoid another set of stop sticks. Police arrested him at gunpoint on felony charges of auto theft and failure to comply with a police order. Juvenile justice officials were unable to confirm his charges Tuesday.

Officers reported the teen appeared to be taking pictures or recording video of the chase and also confiscated his cellphone as evidence. Officers also believe the teen may be behind a string of separate vehicle thefts and break-ins reported in the area this past weekend, and will seek evidence on the cellphone.

The teen’s guardian later told police he left the keys to the work vehicle out and he did not give the teen permission to use the vehicle. Police also recovered a .45-caliber handgun in the vehicle’s glove compartment, which belonged to the guardian. The vehicle itself was disabled and cannot be used for work, according to the report.

“[The teen] advised he was not hurt during the accident and wanted to die,” the report states.

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