Contributed Photo/Courtesy SPD: Safford Police recovered a stolen Nissan car and a stolen Yamaha Banshee ATV after a high-speed chase. Juveniles were the culprits in the chase and thefts.
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – The reporting of a stolen red and white, 2004 Yamaha Banshee eventually lead to a couple of juveniles fleeing from an officer in a high-speed chase in excess of 90 mph with a flat tire. That, in turn, lead to the discovery of the stolen ATV.
Officers were initially dispatched at about 2:52 a.m. on Monday to a residence on West 14th Street regarding a stolen ATV. The Banshee had been chained to other ATVs but had apparently been dragged away sometime after 11 p.m.
During the officer’s search of the area for the missing Yamaha Banshee, he noticed a vehicle in the area of the Discovery Park water tower. According to the officer’s report, the vehicle stopped about 100 yards from him and then revved its engine and raced past, halfway off the road as the officer returned to his patrol vehicle.
The officer then engaged in a pursuit in which the vehicle, later identified as a Nissan, sped in excess of 90 mph with a flat tire. It would later be learned that the alleged driver is only 14-years-old.
The officer continued to follow the Nissan as it slid sideways and attempted to make a left turn onto Golf Course Road as sparks flew from out of the driver’s side front tire. The Nissan then abruptly came to a stop and two subjects ran from the scene and jumped the fence at the Safford RV resort.
The officer engaged in a foot chase and captured a 13-year-old male who claimed to be a passenger in the car. The juvenile sustained minor cuts to his elbows, back and backside when he was tackled by the officer. A paramedic crew from Lifeline Ambulance treated the juvenile at the scene.
The 13-year-old said the 14-year-old had picked him up in the Nissan and said it was his mother’s car. He said they went out for a spin and were driving recklessly near the water tower when the front tire went flat. They then came upon the officer and the driver decided to flee. The officer would later learn that the Nissan was indeed stolen as well.
The 13-year-old also advised that the stolen ATV the officer was looking for was at his house in the 800 block of W. 10th Street and that his brother, also 13, and the 14-year-old driver had brought it there.
Other officers responded to the 10th Street address and discovered the Banshee with two males standing next to it. One of the juveniles fled, while the 13-year-old brother of the passenger in the stolen Nissan stayed put.
The juvenile with the ATV gave conflicting accounts of how he came into possession of the vehicle but evidence at the scene pointed to the juvenile pushing it to its resting spot. He eventually admitted to pushing it but said he didn’t know how it got to the area of his residence.
A fourth juvenile, 14, arrived at the scene with his parents and explained what he knew of the situation to the police. He said the other juveniles had stolen the Nissan and that he had ridden in it before he knew it was stolen. Later, he left for a while as the other juveniles continued to joyride and when he came back he noticed the stolen ATV, which the other juveniles also allegedly admitted to stealing. The fourth juvenile was then released to his parents.
The two 13-year-old brothers were arrested and transported to the Eastern Arizona Regional Juvenile Detention Facility, which is still in operation until the end of the month. Afterward, juveniles who need to be detained are likely to be sent to a facility in Pinal County.
The 14-year-old alleged driver of the stolen Nissan had not been found as of Tuesday morning.