NEW INFO: Teen suspected of stealing van, leading police on pursuit

Published: Feb. 17, 2014 at 5:04 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 27, 2014 at 5:03 AM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Intense moments of a violent police chase that spanned three counties in Virginia are caught on cell phone video. Investigators say a 15-year-old boy stole a van from the Grafton Integrated Health Network school in Midlothian. A Grafton spokeswoman says the teenager lives in a group home, run by Grafton. The network treats clients with disabilities ranging from severe autism to those with troubled family backgrounds.

State police say the teen stole the white, Dodge van from the Grafton school shortly before 9:30 a.m., Sunday. Investigators report the teen sped onto I-95 north, heading through Caroline county. He struck another vehicle, and kept going. Troopers tried to pull thee teen over, but the he wouldn't stop. He swerved weaved in and out of traffic, according to Patty and Kenny Congleton, who took the cell phone video.

State police say the teen tried to ram one trooper's car, running him off the road. He then hit another state police officer's car. Next, the van flipped in the middle of the highway, and landed in a roadside ditch in Spotsylvania. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt. The teen was transferred to a nearby hospital with minor injuries.

"If you try to run an officer off the road…that's automatically considered attempted capital murder," said NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin.

Other possible charges include eluding police, hit and run, reckless driving and grand larceny. If the juvenile is tried as an adult, he could face life in prison. However, that fate is largely up to the prosecutor and the judge, according to Benjamin.

"The fundamental decision for the prosecutors will be whether to try to transfer the young man's case into the adult system," continued Benjamin.

Benjamin says the teen's background and possible mental or behavioral disabilities will likely be taken into consideration by the court, in terms of whether he's tried as an adult and potential sentencing.

State police confirm charges are pending out of Spotsylvania.

Grafton officials are investigating how this teen was able to slip under the radar, stealing the keys to the van and driving off.

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