14-year-old takes car during Renton test-drive
RENTON -- A 14-year-old was in custody Tuesday after he drove off in a car he had taken on a test drive.
The young man was test driving a 1996 Cadillac Seville when the Brotherton Cadillac salesman accompanying him got out to use the ATM machine at the Bank of America branch at 300 Burnett Ave. S. When he did, the 14-year-old drove off in the car.
A police officer who happened to be nearby noticed the teen ``driving erratically,'' said Renton police spokeswoman Penny Bartley, and radioed a motorcycle officer to pull him over.
The motorcycle officer spotted the car at Talbot Road South and South Grady Way, and tried to stop it. The youthful driver ignored the lights and siren and continued south on Talbot.
The motorcycle policeman pursued the car ``less than a mile, less than a minute,'' Bartley said, south on Talbot, west on South 15th Street, and other streets.
The driver stopped the car near South 22nd Place and Shattuck Avenue South and fled on foot. He was quickly apprehended; but he had left the Cadillac in ``drive'' and it rolled forward, damaging a 1978 pickup.
Renton police detained the driver for felony flight, Bartley said; though other charges may be filed. She wasn't sure the incident would qualify as car theft, and the chase did not reach high speeds, though ``He probably was speeding, faster than the 25 or 30 mile-per-hour limits'' on the residential streets he was driving.
Brotherton salesman William Kelley said in 20 years in the auto business, he'd thought he'd seen everything. The youth had been at the dealership ``a couple-three hours'' and had been talking to another salesman when Kelley was asked to take him for a test drive.
Kelley said the teen had told them he wanted to test-drive the Cadillac because his mother planned to buy the car.
He had no idea the driver was only 14. ``I was flabbergasted when they told me that,'' he told the Journal. ``What does 14 look like?''
He was taken by surprise when the youth drove off, Kelley said. ``He had ample opportunity to steal a car when he was here'' at the dealership.