LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Just a day after a stolen SUV was hit by another SUV and wrapped around a utility pole, police are able to say they've identified the driver behind the wheel. However, he's just 17 years old, and therefore a juvenile so his name will not be released.
Police say he is in critical condition at UK Hospital and in no condition to talk with investigators. Officers were able to determine an initial identity on the teen through fingerprinting but they have yet to confirm the name with any family, at this time. The other driver involved will not be identified, but police said she is doing okay.
Investigators say the stolen Acura was in the process of being reported when an officer first spotted it on Versailles Road. The officer called in for backup and continued to keep an eye on the SUV. Police say when a second officer arrived, the teen driver became suspicious and began speeding up. The officers attempted to stop the vehicle use their lights and sirens, but the driver continued to accelerate.
At this point, police say the teen was on Pine Street and driving into rush hour traffic, so they decided to slow down and turn off all of their equipment.
"It was late in the afternoon, so we had a lot of traffic, he's coming across a lot of major streets, so that's why the officers made a decision, very quickly, to not chase him," explained Lt. Chris Van Brackel, of the Lexington Police, "At that point, this is this young man making his own decision to do what he did."
WKYT drove the same route that police say the driver took. Witnesses told us on Tuesday evening that the SUV was seen speeding down Pine Street and ran through several stop signs. We counted at least three, starting at Broadway, where police say the teen did run through the stop sign and crossed all lanes of traffic. Somehow he managed to miss any oncoming traffic.
The teen wasn't as lucky, when he crossed into the intersection at Pine and South Upper Street. There police say an oncoming SUV hit the stolen vehicle and sent it into the utility pole.
Some witnesses told WKYT Tuesday evening, that they narrowly missed being hit by the SUV speeding down Pine Street.
"I know if he would've hit us all of us would be dead. So I'm thankful right now," said Donald Hagans, adding, "The car looks like a boomerang wrapped around the pole."
Hagans and the others, in his car, ran over to help the driver only to see gas spilling out of the SUV, and a small fire that started to burn.
"We didn't know if it was going to blow or not, so we moved back till the officers came with a fire truck," Hagans recalled.
Justin Thompson, who saw the aftermath grabbed a fire extinguisher and gave it to police. He said officers went through roughly three or four extinguishers to put the flames out.