PHOENIX (AP) — A 14-year-old boy driving a SUV carrying three other young teenagers was killed when it crashed into a block wall in a neighborhood after speeding away from police, authorities said.
“It is an absolute tragedy…,” Officer James Holmes, a Phoenix police spokesman, said.
Police responded to a call about a fight at 2 a.m. Wednesday, Holmes said. They didn’t find anything but then saw a SUV driving slowly with its lights off in the neighborhood.
Holmes said officers tried to stop the vehicle, but it sped away. The officers backed off from a chase and turned off their emergency lights, Holmes said.
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Officers continued to look for the vehicle, heard the squeal of tires, saw a dust cloud and then discovered the crash. The vehicle had driven through the yards of at least four homes, damaging utility boxes and landscaping before hitting the wall between two homes.
Police said the 14-year-old driver was found fatally injured inside the vehicle. Three other youths bolted, but police were able to apprehend one of them, a 14-year-old.
Police identified the dead 14-year-old as Alonzo Reyes III. Police withheld the identities of the other youths.
A 13-year-old was later located after his parents took him to a hospital for treatment of facial injuries suffered in the accident, police said.
The SUV belonged to that youth’s parents, police said.
“This is not the first time teens have taken their parents’ cars without permission and done things like this. This is certainly not the first time we’ve had a tragic result, but certainly a lesson learned for our kids and our teenagers out there that sometimes when you do bad things, bad things happen,” Holmes said.
Police were looking for another 14-year-old.
All the boys were too young to legally drive in Arizona, where teens may get a driver’s instruction permit at 15 years and six months and a license at 16 years.
This story has been corrected to show that the vehicle is a SUV.