MILTON TWP. (WWJ/AP) – Prosecutors in southwestern Michigan say a 14-year-old faces juvenile charges after authorities say he was driving a car that crashed and killed his 12-year-old friend.
The boy will be charged with reckless driving causing death along with a lesser civil infraction. His first hearing is expected within a month.
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said Thursday his office authorized a juvenile petition for the boy, which is the equivalent of a warrant for adults. He said prosecutors could have charged the boy as an adult, but determined this was “a reckless act rather than a specific intent to maim or kill.”
Authorities say the 14-year-old was speeding along a snow-slicked road around 2 a.m. on Dec. 31 in Milton Township, just north of the Indiana state line near Niles, when he lost control and struck a tree. Passenger Adrian Chiquito, of Niles, died in the crash.
Kevin Waldrop, Adrian’s father, told WOOD-TV the boys had sneaked out in the middle of the night for a joy ride.
“They weren’t drinking, or they didn’t use drugs,” he said. “They didn’t do anything bad. They were just regular teenagers who made a stupid decision.”
Waldrop described the boys as best friends who lived together in a home shared by their families. He said the boys were up playing video games when he decided to go to bed.
“All of a sudden, we heard banging on the doors,” he said. It was the police, asking if they knew why their car wasn’t in the garage. That’s when Waldrop’s wife ran to the children’s bedroom and made a startling discovery.
“The kids were gone, and the blankets were stuffed with pillows, and she just knew,” he said. “They took the car while we were sleeping.”
Police said the boys were about a mile away from their home when the crash happened.
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