Early Sunday evening, a 9-year-old boy fled from police on a bicycle. Later, he did the same thing behind the wheel of a Honda Civic.

The juvenile drove the car for more than a mile before he crossed two yards and crashed into a porch at 324 Ashton Ave.

The collision happened after midnight.

Earlier, police responded to a suspicious activity call about a 9-year-old who was “in the middle of the street on his bicycle,” said Grand Island Police Capt. Jim Duering. Police tried to stop the youth, but he took off. Police found the bike abandoned.

Meanwhile, the owner of the Civic reported that his vehicle was taken by the juvenile.

“A 9-year-old in a Civic isn’t too hard to track down,” Duering said. “The biggest issue is, he’s 9. So they didn’t want to chase the car. But they didn’t want to just let him keep driving the car either. So they kept communicating by radio as to where he was at and trying to get in front of him and figure out how to corral this young man in. There was even talk about trying to use some spike strips or disable the car.

“And before they could get any of that done,” it didn’t matter, because the youth drove through a couple of yards and hit a porch, he said.

The boy’s trip began around West 10th and North Eddy streets.

Duering doesn’t think police followed him with their lights on the whole time. Instead, officers would spot him and try to get in front of him.

The general thought was that chasing him “was going to make things worse,” he said.

After he crashed into the porch, the youth was in a bad mood.

“That would be a mild understatement,” Duering said. “He locked himself in the car, refused to get out, and eventually I think they ended up breaking the window and extricating the kid out of the vehicle. That led to him spitting on one of the officers, and spouting a bunch of racial slurs toward the officer.

When they took him to the police station, they found he had a concealed knife, Duering said.

The initial charges are flight to avoid arrest, theft of a motor vehicle, carrying a concealed weapon and assault on an officer with a bodily fluid.

Apprehending a 9-year-old is unusual.

“The juvenile justice system is not geared toward offenders this young,” Duering said. “So it took a long time for us to try and figure out a solution to the problem, or get him somewhere where they could keep him until (Juvenile) Services could get involved. Ultimately, there wasn’t anything available for such a young offender. So they ended up citing him and sending him back home.”

The Hall County attorney’s office and the courts will decide what to do.

“There’s just not a lot to do with someone that young,” Duering said. So “no matter what they do, hopefully at some point in time, we can get some services interjected and kind of get this kid steered in the right direction.”

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I am the Cops & Courts Reporter for the Grand Island Independent. I welcome news tips!

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