Pleasant Hill police have released more details on a family dispute that ended in a traffic accident that killed a 14-year-old Thursday evening. Interim police chief Larry Edwards says officers were called by the foster mother of Christopher Stephens, as the mother said Stephens was trying to take her car keys.
Edwards says Stephens got the keys away, as the mother described the vehicle on her cellphone. He says the boy started the van up and tried to run over his mother, then struck a parked car and left the area. Edwards says a police officer on the way to the home spotted the van and turned around and started following it. He says the boy sped away, weaving through intersections and striking two vehicles before the officer saw the van roll over several times.
Edwards says the officer approached the van, but there was no one in it. Other officers arriving on the scene of the accident found the boy in the tall grass nearby. Edwards says they administered first aid, but there were not vital signs. Edwards says the officer pursuing the teen estimated the van was going 80 to 90 miles an hour, but Edwards says it was NOT a high speed pursuit.
Edwards says it was not a high-speed chase, as he says the officer was never close enough to push the car. He says the car driven by the teen just kept accelerating. Edwards was asked if he thought Stephens would have continued on at a high rate of speed had the officer not been behind him with his lights on.
"I do," Edwards says, "not knowing what the argument, or the disagreement entailed, I feel he was escaping for some reason." Edwards says the Polk County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the accident and will make the final determination on what happened. Edwards says one of the cars struck by the teen had a family of six inside, buy no one in either of the cars struck were injured.