14-Year-Old Driver Leads Police

Front Page / Dec. 10, 2009 3:35pm EST

On Chase; Damages 3 Vehicles

By Sandy Vondrasek

State police last Thursday, Dec. 3 arrested a 14-year-old from Barnard on multiple charges, after a two-town pursuit involving multiple cruisers and one of several vehicles the youth allegedly stole that evening.

Police said the chase, which began on Route 107 in Bethel, ended after they deployed tire-deflating spikes on Route 12 in Barnard.

Kim Furlong, Herald correspondent for Barnard and co-owner of Barnard General Store, reported this week that the teen continued to drive the vehicle—reportedly a farm truck from Randolph—after driving over the spikes. He drove, she wrote, "with the tires falling off the rims and sparks flying, until he reached a roadblock across from the store and rammed into the guardrail."

Police did not identify the teen, other than to confirm it was the same youth accused of stealing a vehicle in Barnard November 29, and subsequently crashing it in Royalton.

Police said their involvement in the latest incident started with several calls from Barnard residents December 3, reporting stolen vehicles and attempts to steal vehicles. A home and a garage were entered during the incidents, police said.

Police did not offer more details about these reports, but according to Furlong, a total of three vehicles—the farm dump truck, a two-ton pickup, and a car—were stolen over a four-hour period, and all three damaged.

Troopers that evening located the stolen farm truck on Route 107 in Bethel, and pursued it to Barnard, where the chase ended, and the juvenile was taken into custody.

The youth was cited on multiple charges, including burglary and three charges of operating without owner’s consent (two misdemeanor offenses and one felony). Police said he was also cited for attempted operating without owner’s consent, attempted burglary, and attempting to elude police.

The teen was lodged at Woodside Detention Center, police reported this week.

It was the second time in five days that state police took the teen into custody for alleged vehicle theft.

In the first incident, which occurred Sunday, Nov. 29, the teen was found on foot after he allegedly stole a car in Barnard and crashed it in Royalton. That time he was cited into Windsor County Family Court and released to his parents.

Police did not indicate whether the new, more serious charges would be processed in juvenile or criminal (adult) court.

Furlong said the incidents have shaken the community.

She cited both concern about the costs to the victims and a larger frustration about "the failed systems that should have intervened" before events escalated to the point they did.

"When crimes like this are committed with no funds available for restitution, it is the victims who are left to deal with the cost of repair," Furlong said.

The damage to the farm truck alone, she said, will be thousands of dollars.

She added that many residents are interested in helping out, and a fundraising event is being planned in early January.

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