Juvenile charged after wrecking stolen vehicle

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

   Police charged a juvenile male with several offenses after he reportedly stole a vehicle and led police on a chase that ended after the juvenile wrecked the vehicle.
   "At 8:04 a.m. officers were dispatched to Scenic Drive following a complaint of a stolen vehicle," said Elizabethton Police Department Sgt. Jack Ramsey. "The complainant told dispatchers that he had seen a male subject get into the vehicle."
   According to reports, the vehicle, a green Dodge Shadow, belonged to James W. Estep of 1619 Scenic Drive. The juvenile, a 15-year-old male, reportedly placed a towel over the window of the driver's side door in order to make it harder for anyone to identify him, according to Ramsey.
   "I responded to the call and saw the vehicle turn onto Siam Road off of Scenic Drive," Ramsey said, adding that at that time, he began to pursue the vehicle. "I stayed back because I was afraid he was going to wreck. I just kept him in sight."
   The pursuit continued for approximately three miles, traveling at speeds between 40 and 50 miles per hour. "The vehicle was being driven in a very reckless manner, weaving in and out of the lanes and almost striking other vehicles," Ramsey said.
   The chase ended when the driver lost control of the car as he was attempting to turn left off of Siam Road onto Wilbur Dam Road. At that time, the vehicle ran off the roadway and through a field. As the driver was attempting to get the vehicle back onto the roadway, he struck a utility pole. He was not injured in the wreck.
   At that time, the juvenile was charged with theft over $1,000, felony evading arrest, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and being an unlicensed driver.
   "I issued him juvenile petitions and took him to Mike Woods (Juvenile Court Officer)," Ramsey said. "On Mike Woods' order, the juvenile was released to the custody of his mother."
   Ramsey described the theft as a crime of opportunity. "The victim had just gotten home about 10 or 15 minutes before this happened. He went inside and left the key in the ignition," Ramsey stated. "The kid saw a chance and took it."