14-year-old crashes Jeep on Parkway East after police chase

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A 14-year-old boy was listed in critical condition after a police chase and crash on the inbound Parkway East on Sunday evening.

The boy was driving a stolen 2001 Jeep Cherokee erratically and Penn Hills police attempted to stop the vehicle on Rodi Road. It entered the parkway and crashed at about 6:15 p.m., rolling over at the Churchill interchange. The inbound side of the highway was closed for about five hours.

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Robin Mungo said the driver, whose name was withheld because of his age, suffered injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening. A witness said the vehicle rolled over several times before coming to a stop. Penn Hills police Chief Howard Burton said the boy was ejected from the vehicle, suggesting he was not wearing his seat belt.

He was alone in the vehicle at the time of the crash. One other motorist's vehicle was struck by debris, Trooper Mungo said.

Chief Burton said his officers tried to stop the Jeep because its owners reported it stolen just after 6 p.m.; they were inside their home when they heard the car start and watched the boy drive it down the street. They didn't know the boy, the chief said.

Officers saw the vehicle on Rodi Road and tried to stop it, but it took off toward the parkway almost as soon as they turned on their lights and sirens. Officers saw the boy driving erratically and pursued the Jeep, but quickly called off the chase for safety reasons, Chief Burton said.

According to state police, the pursuit was called off about a mile from where the crash occurred.

The boy was hospitalized at UPMC Mercy.In an interview with WPXI-TV this morning, the boy's mother faulted the car owner for leaving the keys in the vehicle and took police to task for chasing the car, saying it was possible he was just joyriding.That brought a response from the car owner, Melissa Leon, who posted a comment on the Post-Gazette website saying the boy's mother needed a "reality check."

breaking - neigh_east

First Published August 12, 2012 7:15 PM


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