A stolen car full of teenagers crashed off Interstate 95 northbound in West Haven following a police pursuit Wednesday morning, according to Connecticut State Police.
According to State Police Sgt. Matt Funchion, the incident began when Stratford police found suspicious activity around the car at around 3 a.m. When officers approached, the car took off, leading to a high-speed chase down I-95, where state troopers became involved.
The car crashed off the exit 43 ramp in West Haven and five juveniles took off on foot, police said.
The vehicle had been reported stolen out of Branford.
Police eventually located the suspects, who range in age from 13 to 17 and are all from New Haven. Some suffered minor injuries, and were treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
State police said that all five were charged with interfering with police and third-degree larceny. The driver was also charged with engaging in police pursuit, reckless driving and evading the scene of an accident.
Investigators are looking into whether the teens may be involved in any other crimes in the area.
The incident is the latest of several instances of teens breaking into cars this summer across the state, mostly of which are being left unlocked.
Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane said this is an ongoing, dangerous problem. Last month, a car filled with six teens struck two innocent bystanders in Hartford, killing one of them. Kane wrote an op-ed in the Hartford Courant, saying this should be a wake-up call to ramp up the juvenile justice system, since teens aren’t afraid of the punishments.
“These teens have no fear,” said TFC Kelly Grant. “They don’t fear the consequences, whether that be an arrest, whether that be jail time, whether that be going to court.”
Grant said what’s making it easy for these teens to get behind your wheel is leaving your car unlocked.
“The police need to do their part, and the community needs to do their part. And the community’s part is locking their vehicles and calling 911 as soon as they see something that looks out of place.”