11-year-old boy who allegedly stole his parent's car for the third time might face felony charges

Kristine Solomon
A Cleveland preteen allegedly driving his mother’s SUV was apprehended by police after a high-speed chase. (Photo: Getty Images)
A Cleveland preteen allegedly driving his mother’s SUV was apprehended by police after a high-speed chase. (Photo: Getty Images)

An 11-year-old boy in Cleveland who allegedly led police on a high-speed chase while driving — then crashing — his mother’s Dodge Durango Sunday night is dealing with some very adult consequences: possible felony charges.

An officer in a police vehicle spotted the Durango just before 11 p.m. on Sunday in an old, vacant fire department building. But when he turned on his lights, the SUV took off onto Memphis Avenue and crossed a double yellow line, according to local Cleveland news station WKYC.

The car blew past a red light at a major intersection and reached a speed of 90 mph at one point while weaving in and out of traffic, according to police. The chase ended when the SUV flipped. The boy sustained minor injuries, for which he was treated, and fortunately did not hurt anyone else. He later told his mother that he had taken her car because she took away his PlayStation.

Sadly, police were already familiar with the 11-year-old suspect, as this was his third brush with the law. In 2017, the boy made headlines at 10 years old for being caught on a police dashcam for allegedly driving his father’s Toyota Avalon at 100 mph on the Ohio Turnpike as authorities sped after him and followed for almost 50 miles. A trooper even made eye contact with the child and motioned for him to pull over, but he shook his head no and kept going, according to WKYC.

The 2017 incident was the second time he’d allegedly stolen his parents’ car. Police who apprehended the boy at that time — after running him off the road and into a ditch — reported that he was combative, kicking and spitting at them. The boy suffers from attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder, according to police reports. Though the car had three flat tires, the boy was unharmed. His excuse at that time was that he was bored.

In an interview at the time, the boy’s father, Christopher Hampton, said the child thinks “everything is funny” and that he was under the impression that he’d get away with the crime for the second time since he was able to pull it off unpunished the first time. They also blamed video games, like Grand Theft Auto, for the child’s behavior.

“We’ve had juveniles who have stolen cars and driven,” a police officer told WKYC. “My personal experience? I’ve never had a child this young.” For his 2017 offense, the child was charged with a felony at the time, according to the Root, but the charges were dismissed. This time, that’s unlikely to be the outcome.

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