14-year-old boy driving stolen car killed in Grand Chute crash


GRAND CHUTE, Wis. (WBAY) – A 14-year-old boy from Milwaukee, driving a car he stole from his uncle, was killed in a crash in the parking lot of a Grand Chute restaurant late Sunday.

Grand Chute Police say the boy led police on a high-speed chase prior to the crash.

At 11:30 p.m., Grand Chute Police located a car reported in a reckless driving complaint in Neenah traveling south on I-41. An officer tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver took off, leading police on a chase at speeds up to 100 mph.

“Officers followed the vehicle before determining to no longer follow the vehicle, for whatever reason felt that it was not safe to follow it any longer,” Officer Travis Waas, Grand Chute Police Department, said.

Even as police backed off, the driver continued southbound and tried to exit at Wisconsin Avenue. The car traveled across the median and crashed into a light pole in the parking lot of the IHOP near Fox River Mall.

Officers attempted life-saving measures but were not successful. The boy was airlifted to a Neenah hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“Anytime you have a loss of life, regardless of the circumstances, it’s tragic.  But when you have somebody who is 14 that has so much life to live yet, it’s even more,” Waas said.

Police say the teen stole the car from an uncle he was staying with in Oshkosh for the past three days. It had not been reported stolen at the time of the pursuit. Police have not publicly identified the boy or said why he stole the car.

Wisconsin Avenue and the on and off ramps for southbound I-41 were closed for about two hours while police gathered evidence and removed the car.

The IHOP also sustained damage. The restaurant had been closed for about two hours before a surveillance camera caught a projectile coming through the window just after midnight — debris from the crash in the parking lot.

A manager let Action 2 News inside the restaurant where broken glass covered a booth and part of the floor.

“It was just, ‘Wow!’, that flying through the window. It was just, thankfully no one was in here,” IHOP general manager Debra Sonnleitner said. “I think someone would have really been injured had we been open at the time.”

The restaurant reopened its doors at its regular time Monday with the damaged section of the restaurant blocked off.

Damage inside the IHOP near Fox River Mall. Oct. 24, 2016.
Damage inside the IHOP near Fox River Mall. Oct. 24, 2016.
Damage inside the IHOP near Fox River Mall. Oct. 24, 2016.
Damage inside the IHOP near Fox River Mall. Oct. 24, 2016.