AP NEWS

Teen driver of stolen car faces charges in fatal crash

May 14, 2019

HARTFORD - Police are holding an arrest warrant for a New Britain teen who killed a Hartford man after crashing in a stolen vehicle on April 6.

The 16-year-old is currently being held after being arrested in a separate motor vehicle case in Hartford on April 18, Hartford police said.

He and three others were in a Chrysler 300 stolen from East Hampton April 6 when the car went through several stop signs while speeding on Grand Street in Hartford and smashed into a Hyundai Sante Fe driven by 44-year-old Jose Mendoza who was fatally injured.

The carload of juveniles bailed out of the Chrysler fled on foot. Two juveniles, one described as a 16-year-old “ward of the state” and a 14-year-old from East Hartford, were taken into custody a short distance from the scene. Both were referred to juvenile authorities, Hartford police said.

A third passenger, a 15-year-old Hartford resident, was arrested in an unrelated stolen vehicle in Wallingford on April 30, police said.

Police identified the New Britain 16-year-old as the driver of the Chrysler who killed Mendoza through the investigation.

The car was traveling at “full throttle” at 48 miles per hour when it went through the intersection of Grand Street and Broad Street and struck Mendoza’s SUV, police said. Mendoza was pronounced dead at Hartford Hospital a short while later, police said.

The crash, one of several caused by teens in stolen cars in recent years, occurred as lawmakers were considering a bill that would allow juveniles accused of car theft to enter into treatment rather than the juvenile justice or adult court system. The bill was approved in the state Senate last week and is waiting on a vote from the House.

The 16-year-old will be formally charged with first-degree manslaughter, first-degree evading responsibility, third-degree larceny and reckless driving later this week. He is being held at a juvenile detention center on the unrelated Hartford stolen vehicle case, police said.