No charges filed against teens who police say crashed stolen car, killing Robbins man

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No charges have been filed against the three teenagers who Robbins police say in February stole a Kia and crashed it into a vehicle, killing 70-year-old resident Donald Carter.

Police are also updating the ages of the three teens. At the time, police said the boys were all 13 years old, but village spokesman Sean Howard said Friday their ages were actually 17, 15 and 14, meaning at least one was of legal age to drive. When asked why police said the boys were 13, Howard said he didn’t know how they got that information.

About six weeks ago, the Robbins Police Department submitted its reports regarding the three boys to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, Howard said.

“Our detectives did a full-scale investigation. We got all the evidence and it’s with the state,” Howard said.

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office declined to comment because the case is under investigation.

At 2:30 p.m. Feb. 12, a Robbins officer saw a Kia with a broken driver’s side window traveling north on Kedzie Avenue and drove in the direction it was headed, according to police reports.

The Kia crashed into a Ford Taurus, driven by Carter, who was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he died from his injuries, police said.

Two days after the crash, Robbins Mayor Darren Bryant and former police Chief David Sheppard held a news conference and said the boys were released to their parents.

Under Illinois law, police can hold individuals 12 years and younger for six hours and individuals 12 years and older for 24 hours, Sheppard said.

Within 24 hours of the crash, Robbins police said they couldn’t gather the evidence needed to charge the juveniles in this case without a warrant, so they were released to their parents, Sheppard said.

Howard said the warrant was eventually executed, but declined to comment on what was searched or sought.

“We’re confident that every scope was examined,” Howard said.

Bryant fired Sheppard in April, with a spokesperson saying in a statement Bryant “wants some broader goals met and believes a change in the management of the department is needed to achieve these initiatives.”

Sheppard said he believed a factor in his dismissal was his questioning of directions he received from Bryant in the handling of the Carter’s vehicle. Sheppard said the vehicle was taken to a large building where public works vehicles and road salt are stored to keep it enclosed, because state police had not yet processed it for evidence in the crash investigation.

He said he was contacted by the mayor and told the car had to be moved because it was blocking public works vehicles. Sheppard said he contacted the public works director, who said that was not the case.

Sheppard has hired a lawyer and said he is considering a lawsuit against the village for his wrongful termination.

Bryant did not respond to requests for comment and acting police Chief Carl Scott declined to comment.

Howard said Sheppard was not fired because of this case, but would not comment further.

Carter’s family has been seeking justice in his case.

Desmond Carter said in February he was upset the three teenagers were released without being charged because their alleged crimes led to his father’s death. The family wants the teenagers to be charged and held accountable for their crimes, he said.

“There’s so much hurt and there’s so much anger behind it mostly because these kids were allowed to go home to the very people who obviously weren’t making sure they knew where these kids were in the first place,” Carter said.