Local News

Durham Teen Injured After Prank Goes Too Far

Posted May 2, 2005 6:02 a.m. EDT

— A 13-year-old boy in Durham was injured Sunday afternoon in an accident at Tidewater Fiber Corporation after a prank went too far, police said.

Police said the teen -- Jesse Harris -- and five other teens trespassed onto the Tidewater property and broke into two recycling trucks, which had keys in them.

Quan Yarborough, who is friends with Harris, said it is common knowledge among his peers that the keys are left in the ignition of the trucks, and that the recycling plant can be easily accessed.

"All you got to do is jump the little gate," Yarborough said. "It's not even a big gate; it's a little gate. Or, you can just walk around the gate."

Each truck the teens broke into has two steering wheels, one on the right side and one on the left side.

Police said Harris, 17-year-old Dominic Hayes and another 13-year-old male were playing in the vehicle, and that Harris was turning the left steering wheel at the same time that Hayes was turning the right steering wheel.

As they were simultaneously turning the steering wheels, the vehicle sped up and caused the truck to flip on its right side and on to Harris.

Harris suffered a broken leg in the accident and was taken to the Duke University Medical Center.

His injuries do not appear to be life-threatening, police said.

"They were up there playing in the recycling yard thing, and they were playing on there because they keep the keys in the truck," Yarborough said.

The general manager of Tidewater said break-ins, vandalism and theft are a constant problem at the facility.

He said a fence surrounds 26 acres of the property. And, to his knowledge, keys are not left inside the truck.

Police have charged Hayes with careless and reckless driving.