Sheriff: Morgan juveniles involved in car chase had vandalized church
By Michael Wetzel
For the Enquirer
Two of three Morgan County juveniles in an allegedly stolen car, detained after a 40-mile high-speed chase Tuesday morning through Chilton and Autauga counties, were among those involved in the vandalism of a Somerville church this past month, authorities said.
In a news release, Alabama state trooper Cpl. Jeremy Burkett said officers attempted to stop a stolen 2008 Ford Expedition about 8 a.m. Tuesday near mile marker 219 on Interstate 65, near Jemison.
Traveling south, the 14-year-old driver of the stolen vehicle entered Prattville city limits, and the vehicle struck several vehicles while attempting to elude law enforcement, troopers reported.
Prattville police assisted the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency in placing spike strips in the path of the vehicle. After the vehicle’s tires were deflated, the vehicle struck two more vehicles before overturning, authorities said.
ALEA said six juveniles were in the stolen vehicle, including the three from Morgan County. In addition to the 14-year-old driver, the vehicle was occupied by an 11-year-old, a 12-year-old, two 13-year-olds and another 14-year-old, troopers said.
Troopers charged the driver with first-degree receiving stolen property, first-degree assault and two misdemeanors.
Morgan County sheriff’s spokesman Mike Swafford said two females, ages 11 and 13, in the Prattville incident were reported as runaways from Morgan County about 5 a.m. Tuesday. One of the girls was charged in the Prattville incident, he said. A 14-year-old Morgan County boy was also a passenger in the wrecked vehicle, he said.
He said the two females were among the five juveniles who allegedly took part in the vandalism to St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Somerville the week of Oct. 11.
The juveniles face burglary and criminal mischief charges related to the vandalism. He said the juveniles rounded up in the vandalism case were detained and turned over to the juvenile probation office.
“ALEA contacted us Tuesday morning and said they had three juveniles from Morgan County at the scene in Prattville,” Swafford said. “I believe there were some injuries in the accident, but I can’t confirm if they involved our juveniles.”
After the girls were reported as runaways, he said sheriff’s investigators tracked a stolen debit card to a fuel store in Warrior.
“Once our runaway juvenile subjects were located, our role was done,” Swafford said.
ALEA said the investigation is continuing, but no further details are available. The juveniles were not identified because of their age.
This past week, church leaders said the damage to the church has been repaired and things are “back to normal.”