Whether it was pure theft or part joyride, a 16-year-old Arcadia, Florida, teenager damaged at least 23 cars on a wild chase as he attempted to flee from police on Tuesday. According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the teen apparently cycled past an auto shop where he saw a Ford F350 with the key left in the ignition. He stole the truck and soon had the police in pursuit, at times at least 100 miles an; hour, according to an eye witness. During the chase, the teen reportedly struck car after car, nine of them on a congested bridge. Police were forced to call off the chase at one point because of safety problems on the crowded streets. The Bradenton Herald reported that a police helicopter was called in to keep surveillance on the teenager.
Police were able to apprehend the teen without any serious injuries being reported. He was arrested and now faces serious charges that include grand theft auto, fleeing the scene of an accident, and reckless driving.
One eyewitness, whose car was struck during the chase, told the WFLA station that “I saw a red pickup coming down the middle of a two-lane bridge, and cars were going off on either side. I tried to get off as far as I could … he got the rear end of my car.” The eyewitness added: “He was flying … I have never seen anyone go that fast on that road.” A police department spokesman also told the station: “We haven’t really interviewed him yet to find out why. I mean obviously he wanted to go on a joyride, but that was one heck of a joyride.”
The teenager in this auto chase faces criminal charges with serious consequences. Grand theft auto is a felony, even if the car is not worth very much. It is usually punishable by a year or more in prison and/or a fine. It is charged as grand theft whether it is broken into or just left with the key in the ignition, as in this case. For more information on auto theft and other criminal charges, contact the Massachusetts Criminal Attorney Patrick T. Donovan.