SAN ANTONIO – A 14-year-old San Antonio girl has gone from the driver’s seat of a car to the hot seat.
She and one of her middle-school-aged friends face criminal charges after an incident that began in north San Antonio early Tuesday morning and ended in Hill Country Village a short time later.
San Antonio police say the group was in a stolen car, and that the teen driver led officers on a 10-minute long slow-speed chase.
“Speeds never reached over 40 (miles per hour) I believe and they were going in circles. They obviously didn't know where they were going,” said SAPD Ofc. Sarah Rahman.
When Rahman and her fellow officers stopped the car in the 500 block of Tomahawk Trail, Rahman said they found the teen and two of the other children inside. A fourth child was caught nearby after a brief foot chase, police said.
The car they were in belongs to a newspaper delivery man, police said.
Matthew Radick told KSAT 12 News he was doing his job—dropping off newspapers – at an apartment complex near Highway 281 and Henderson Pass shortly before 4 a.m.
He says he had left his car idling for just a few seconds when he noticed someone else climbing into the driver’s seat.
“I didn't know what to think,” Radick said. “I was confused at first. I thought maybe I was in the way and she was going to move my car.”
It wasn’t long, though, before it became clear to him that his car was being stolen. Radick says he tried his best to stop the thief.
“I was trying to pull her out of the car or open the door. Half my body was through the window,” he said.
His attempts fell short when he fell to the ground. Radick then went to a nearby motel where he called police for help.
“Our Eagle (helicopter) got up real fast, which was great, because they were a big hand in catching the car,” Rahman said.
It was only after officers stopped the car that they realized how young everyone inside was – all between the ages of 12 and 14, police said.
“No one has a driver’s license. No one's even close enough to being able to drive,” Rahman said. “They were just joyriding in the car. They don't live around here and gave their parents false stories about where they were going to be.”
Police arrested the 14-year-old on a charge of robbery.
The passenger who tried to run away also faces charges related to his attempted escape, police said.
Although Radick was able to get his car back right away, he says he still lost his cellphone.
“I had it on a dash mount, and it's not there,” Radick said. “Police said the (suspects) may have thrown it out the window.”