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Police: Teen pilots family SUV on rampage in Apex neighborhood

Posted August 29, 2008
Updated August 30, 2008

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— A teenage boy with autism, driving his family’s sports-utility vehicle, accidentally hit his father and went on a vehicular rampage, scattering debris through an Apex neighborhood Friday night, police said.

The 16-year-old boy grabbed the keys to the family’s Ford Expedition and got behind the wheel. The teen’s father tried to stop him, Capt. Jacque Gilbert said. The SUV hit the father and dragged him, Gilbert said.

The father, whose name has not been released, was transported to a hospital. He sustained minor injuries. His condition was not immediately available.

The teen then took off through the Walden Creek subdivision on what Gilbert described as a vehicular rampage.

The Expedition hit the garage of a home at 2002 Walden Glade Run, down the street from where the teen and his family live.

“You would think you’d be safe inside your home but apparently not,” said homeowner Sonali Birla, whose home the teen drove into.

Birla said the family was settling in to watch a movie when they heard a “loud crash.”

The SUV hit Birla’s garage door and pushed the family’s Geo Prism into the wall.

“I think if the car wasn’t parked here, he would’ve gone through our kitchen,” Birla said.

Police said the teen backed out and kept driving on Walden Glade Run, where he slammed into several cars and drove through several yards, knocking over mailboxes. Authorities said the teen also crashed into another garage on a different street.

Neighbors heard the teen and called 911.

The SUV came to a stop after hitting an ambulance that was responding to the scene.

The rampage left debris littered across the neighborhood, and the teen sustained minor injuries. He was transported to WakeMed.

Investigators plan to discuss the case with the district attorney to determine whether to file charges against the teen.

“We just so feel not only for the homeowners affected by it, but also the family of the young man. Just a sad, sad situation, we wish would never happen for anybody,” neighbor Rozanne Todd said.

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