YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Newly released video shows the dramatic arrest of a teenager following a police chase in Youngstown.
The Youngstown Police Department released body-camera video to First News. It shows officers with guns drawn approaching the driver after he crashed just across from the main fire station downtown.
Officers say a 13-year-old driving a stolen Kia slammed into a pole across from Youngstown Fire Station No.1 downtown. Despite the young suspect’s age, detectives say he’s had previous run-ins with the law.
“Our investigation reveals, so far, that he is part of a larger group of juveniles that are stealing these cars like the two we caught last week,” said Capt. Jason Simon.
Twice last week, police say juveniles were caught in the act of stealing cars on the South Side. One on Ambert Avenue and the other on Wakefield Avenue.
“These juveniles, very frequently if not exclusively, are leading our officers on pursuits, which endangers the public and clearly themselves,” Simon said.
In both cases, the young suspects were never detained at the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center. A supervisor said neither fit the facility’s criteria to be housed there.
It turns out other agencies have had similar instances of juveniles being denied by JJC. In Austintown, police encountered a 15-year-old with a concealed weapon that police reports state was recommended to be taken home as well as a 13-year-old charged with assault that again did not meet the facility’s requirements for incarceration.
First News has learned of more examples from the Mahoning County Sheriff where offenders were either refused or calls were simply never answered.
A supervisor with the Sheriff’s Office said the center is a valuable tool for law enforcement, adding his officers share frustration over JJC standards governing which offenders can be accepted and which cannot.
Justice Center Administrator Ron Chambers said that the Juvenile Justice Center is a 20-bed facility. When it was established in 1979, it was a 40-bed facility. The following census shows the past six months and the average number of students it has housed:
- January average, 20 students
- February average, 17 students
- March average, 16 students
- April average, 18 students
- May average, 18 students
- June average, 15 students
Police are hoping Saturday’s suspect will be housed there when he’s released from the hospital.