Witnesses See Teen Crash Stolen SUV

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Knoxville (WVLT) -- Police are trying to figure out how to charge a teenage boy after the car stolen from a company in Washington County wound up wrecked during a police chase this morning in East Knoxville.

We thought it was his car, but they say he stole the car," said Justice Heinz.

Heinz, her cousins, and a few neighbors watched a 15 year old boy fled from justice in a stolen Ford Escape. The small group only caught the tail end of the pursuit. Just seconds later the SUV barreled into the fence along side the Fair Garden Community Center on the corner of Lansing Avenue and Fern Street.

"When I looked out I seen the car going towards the tree, he didn't get hit by an air bag"

It was at that point the 15 year old jumped from the car and took off on foot down the sidewalk. Just ten minutes before and 3 miles away at Groner Drive and Magnet place KPD officer Tim Edwards and the teen spotted each other.

"The officer was outside the car at the time and he hit the police officers door," said Sgt. Gary Moyers with the Knoxville Police. "It was an aggravated assault once he struck the officer with his car. Changed it from a property crime to a felony."

That changed what might have been a backoff into a full fledged pursuit down Riverside drive.

"He was going pretty fast," said bystander Jermaine Patterson.

KPD made a different distinction.

"It was no a per se high speed chase due to road conditions, and traffic, there was no traffic involved," Moyers said. "Nobody was put in any danger."

The danger came after the crash, when the teen was out of the SUV and running down the street.

According to the small group gathered around Fair Garden he jumped a fence and took off running. The foot pursuit lasted about another mile before police caught up to him.

"He didn't get caught," Justice said, "but now he is."

It was a "stolen Escape", both figuratively and literally. The SUV is now at the impound lot and the teen is now in custody.

Officer Edwards was to follow up his ordeal with trip to the doctor.

"...to be examined and checked," Moyers said, "anybody that has been involved in a high adrenaline situation, you don't know how hurt you are till later."

Officer Edwards was on scene shortly after the teen was caught. A quick checkup revealed that he suffered only minor scratches.

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