Crime scene

A 9-year-old arrested for stealing a car, fleeing from police and crashing into a house on Sunday is accused of stealing a car again Tuesday evening.

At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jeffrey Wilson reported his maroon 1998 Jeep Cherokee as stolen from outside Wave Pizza Co., 107 N. Walnut St. Two hours later, at 9:40, the Grand Island Police Department attempted a traffic stop at 14th and Clark streets due to speeding and stop sign violations. However, the traffic stop was later terminated to ensure the safety of bystanders, according to the GIPD media sheet.

The Jeep Cherokee was later found in an alley and determined to be the vehicle Wilson reported stolen.

“We did take him (the 9-year-old boy) into physical custody, but I think he ended up being referred and returned to the house,” said Grand Island Police Capt. Jim Duering. “That is the big issue; juvenile institutions won’t take him because he is too young.”

He added that by state statute, a juvenile has to be at least 11 years old to be detained to a juvenile facility.

According to the GIPD media sheet, the 9-year-old will be referred to the Hall County attorney’s office for charges of willful reckless driving, no headlights, flight to avoid arrest and a stop sign violation.

Can the parents be held responsible for their child’s actions?

“We haven’t at this point, or at least have not had evidence that they are not at least making attempts,” Duering said. “That is one of the avenues we are going to keep looking into because something has got to happen.

“We are not going to chase stolen cars and 9-year-olds every day because that is dangerous. I do not think the solution lies fully in the hands of the Police Department. We are going to have to work with some other agencies on this and come up with something.”

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