Underage driver in stolen SUV leads authorities on chase

November 8, 2011 11:12:15 AM PST
A 14-year-old is accused of stealing his neighbor's car and leading sheriff's deputies on a brief chase before running into another vehicle. The boy's mother says it's not necessarily his fault.

The teen is now facing criminal charges. The boy's mother blames her son's actions on a developmental disorder that's on the same spectrum as autism.

It's hard to believe no one was seriously hurt after the white Trailblazer was t-boned by a Ford F-150 at the intersection of Greenhouse and the Katy Freeway. Even more surprising is who authorities say was behind the wheel.

Harris County Precinct 5 Assistant Chief JJ Laine said, "The young man we pulled out of this vehicle looks like your neighbor next door's kid. You just never suspect it."

Kid is right! A 14-year-old boy dressed in a school uniform was at the wheel. The teen allegedly stole his neighbor's SUV and led police on a short chase.

"He was dodging cars, swerving, running stop signs, running red lights," said neighbor Jose Zamarripa.

The stolen Trailblazer belongs to Zamarripa. He woke up Monday morning, noticed it was missing, saw the teen drive right by him and called 911.

"I'm like, hey!" Zamarripa recalled. "I tried to stop him, but he didn't, so I got in my truck and chased him."

He chased the boy through two neighborhoods before Precinct 5 Deputy Constable Dallas Sessumus spotted him.

"I initiated a traffic stop," Sessumus said. "He fled, and I gave pursuit. He stopped at one point, he backed into my vehicle, then took off again."

The boy then wrecked the SUV and was arrested. Deputies say the teen told them he stole the SUV because he had an urge to.

His mother Christina Cates told Eyewitness News, "This is like my worst nightmare coming true."

Cates says a doctor recently diagnosed her 14-year-old son with Asperger's disorder, ADHD and anxiety. She says this is the fifth time her son has stolen a car in three weeks.

"I think he's going to be better to just sit in juvenile for a while until I can figure out what to do," Cates said. "At least I know he's safe."

The 14-year-old has been getting psychiatric help. His mother plans to get him additional help. He's facing a charge of felony evading arrest and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

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