Standard Investigation Follows Joplin Police Pursuit of 11-Year- - KOAM TV 7

Standard Investigation Follows Joplin Police Pursuit of 11-Year-Old Driving SUV

Joplin, MO -

The Joplin Police Department says there will be an investigation following a high speed chase yesterday evening that involved an 11-year-old.  Police say this internal investigation is standard procedure after any pursuit.  

Darrin Bentley lives near a home on North Florida Avenue...

"I was curious about what was going on," says Bentley.

...A home with a damaged garage door.  Pair that with police cars, police tape, and a lot of disbelief Thursday evening.

"I couldn't believe it," says Bentley.  "I was in shock!"

Joplin police say an 11-year-old boy stole his parents' SUV, then rammed it into the garage door.

"I don't know what his intentions were there," says Captain Trevor Duncan with the Joplin Police Department.

From there, police say the young boy led officers on a high speed pursuit, reaching speeds up to 80 miles an hour.

Bentley says, "An 11-year-old, you know?  That's kind of crazy!"

Police say the boy ran red lights and drove on the wrong side of streets, covering several miles.  This dangerous situation was also unique.

"Obviously, nobody is anticipating an 11-year-old behind the wheel that had already hit a house," says Duncan.

Officers decided to end their pursuit, hoping the boy would slow down.  Police say that didn't happen, and some people wanted officers to be more accountable.

"Citizens were actually yelling at our officers, pointing which way he had gone and saying, go get him!  There was some frustration there," says Duncan.

Police say officers didn't treat this pursuit the same as if an adult would have been driving.

"We know he's going to be a lot more susceptible to wrecking that vehicle or hurting somebody else," says Duncan.

The 11-year-old ended up driving to his parents home, where officers arrested him.  No one was hurt.

"I think that's the best case scenario," says Bentley.  "They caught the kid.  They took care of it the way they needed to take care of it.  All in all, it was a good night for what could have been a lot worse."

The boy is now in juvenile custody, and police do not know if he has prior criminal incidents.


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