Updated (10:15 p.m.): West Hartford Police have a 16-year-old suspect in custody who crashed a stolen car at the intersection of South Main Street with Sedgwick and Park roads.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford Police apprehended a 16-year-old male suspect who stole an Acura that had a 2-year-old inside it and then crashed into another vehicle at the intersection of South Main Street and Sedgwick and Park roads Tuesday afternoon.
According to an update from Capt. Eric Rocheleau, the white Acura was stolen from Premium Auto at 932 New Britain Ave. in West Hartford with a 2-year-old inside the vehicle.
Rocheleau told reporters at a press conference at West Hartford Police Headquarters Tuesday evening that owner of the Acura had stopped at Premium Auto and stepped out of the car briefly to speak with someone they knew, but was not actively a customer at the time.
During that short period of time, a male teen who had been walking through the parking lot stole the car, Rocheleau said.
Rocheleau did not have the confirmed details about whether it was the child’s father or mother – although he believed it was the mother – but said the parent called 911 immediately, as the vehicle was being driven away, traveling west on New Britain Avenue at a high rate of speed.
An officer already located near Rockledge Drive spotted the vehicle headed north on South Main Street.
Another officer, who was located near CVS on South Main Street, was able to deploy tire deflation sticks to slow the stolen vehicle, but the suspect continued to flee until coming to a stop after crashing into a maroon Honda.
Police immediately looked inside the Acura, but the child was not there, and they began looking for the 2-year-old, checking the route the driver of the stolen car had taken.
“We knew he went westbound on New Britain Avenue and then northbound on South Main Street,” Rocheleau said. “Luckily within a few minutes, we got a 911 call that the baby had been dropped off, in the child seat, outside of Pepe’s Pizza.”
Witnesses who saw the child being dropped off cared for the child, who was uninjured, until it was reunited with the family.
The incident happened at approximately 2:30 p.m., and Rocheleau said the elapsed time from the 911 call to the crash was just four or five minutes. The child was in the stolen car for only “about a minute,” he said.
The two damaged vehicles came to rest on South Main Street, just north of the intersection of Sedgwick Road and Park Road. A portion of South Main Street from that intersection to Meadowbrook Road was closed for a portion of the afternoon while the police investigation was taking place.
The suspect fled after the crash into the parking area at the Xfinity building at the northwest corner of South Main Street and Sedgwick Road, and crossed the creek, but was apprehended after a short foot chase.
The suspect who was taken into custody was brought to a local hospital by ambulance as a precaution, but any injuries appear to be minor.
Police said there were three occupants of the Honda, including two minors, but no injuries were reported to those victims.
The name of the suspect has not been released because he is a minor. He told police he was from New York and was visiting relatives in New Britain.
Policerequested the Juvenile Court authorize a “Take Into Custody Order” for the teen to allow him to be held rather being automatically released.
At 10:15 p.m., Rocheleau said the teen was turned over to Juvenile Court at 920 Broad St. in Hartford, “pursuant to a court issued ‘Order to Detail’ related to this case.”
Rocheleau said the teen has been charged with second-degree kidnapping, risk of injury, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree larceny, engaging in pursuit, reckless driving, evading responsibility, interfering with an officer, second-degree criminal trover, operating without a license, following too closely, and failure to obey traffic signals.
The investigation is continuing.
The entire press conference with Capt. Eric Rocheleau can be seen below.
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