Unlicensed juvenile driver leads police on a high-speed pursuit

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Three juveniles are facing charges after taking a truck and leading police on a high-speed pursuit.

By Jon Johnson 


GRAHAM COUNTY – Three juveniles were apprehended at gunpoint after leading a deputy on a high-speed chase with speeds up to 95 mph through Thatcher early Saturday morning. 

The 15-year-old driver was given a juvenile probation referral with charges of unlawful flight from law enforcement, reckless driving, driving without a driver’s license, four counts of failure to stop at a stop sign, and incorrigible juvenile. The two other juveniles (one of which is the driver’s brother) were referred on a charge of incorrigible juvenile. 

According to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report, a deputy was northbound on First Avenue passing Eagle Meadow Loop at about 3 a.m. when he noticed a southbound Dodge truck go off the shoulder of the road multiple times. 

When the deputy turned to follow the truck, the driver accelerated. The deputy then activated his emergency lights and siren but the truck failed to yield and instead fled from the deputy and ran the stop sign at 8th Street and First Avenue at approximately 95 mph. 

The truck went westbound and eventually made its way to the Daley Estates area. It then went southeast of there toward the Blue Ponds and abruptly stopped around the backside of a hill. The deputy reported that the three occupants attempted to get out and the deputy ordered them into custody at gunpoint. At that point, the deputies involved realized the suspects were juveniles. 

When asked, the driver allegedly said he had taken his father’s truck without permission to go to the gas station to purchase “a snack or drink” at 3 a.m. The driver also allegedly said that he didn’t stop for the officer and instead ran and racked up more charges because he was scared to stop due to not having a license. 

The juveniles’ parents were informed and retrieved the truck and their children with juvenile referral charges pending review by Graham County Juvenile Probation.