A 12-year-old was behind the wheel of a stolen SUV fleeing St. Augustine police when it struck a car in St. Augustine just before 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, injuring three people, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
"We crashed because the police put on their lights. We took off," said David Adams, a 14-year-old passenger in the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder with the underage driver at the wheel.
Adams, along with the preteen driver, whose name is not being released because of his age, and the 28-year-old driver of the Volkswagen Jetta that was struck were all taken Flagler Hospital with what were described as minor injuries. All were treated and released.
Troopers say the SUV was headed south on State Road 207 just before 1 a.m. Wednesday after speeding away from St. Augustine police officers attempting to make a traffic stop of the vehicle reported stolen earlier in the evening from the North Orange Street area.
According to the FHP, when the driver tried to make a right turn onto South Holmes Boulevard, he could not negotiate the turn and struck the Jetta. The Pathfinder continued into a parking lot and collided with a sign post.
"If it had kept coming, it probably would have come through my fence and hit my car," said Gail Keeny, who was awoken by the crash. "I jumped up and heard all the police cars, and I come out and they were everywhere, and the car was right here smoking really bad."
The driver was charged by the FHP with careless driving and not having a driver's license against the driver. He and passenger Adams were charged by St. Johns County authorities with grand theft of a vehicle and possession of stolen property.
The boys were booked through the St. Johns County jail, then turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Duval County. Both have since been released to their parents.
Adams' mother told Channel 4's Hailey Winslow she was home in bed when it happened. The mom said she thought her son was sleeping, too, but, "he just walked out."