An 18-year-old New York man is facing a raft of charges including grand larceny, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief after police say a routine DWI stop turned into a 13-mile-long joyride. The man is accused of taking the police car that he had been placed in after being taken into custody and driving it from upper Manhattan to Westchester County.
According to an NYPD report, the teen's car was stopped at a New Year's DWI checkpoint on West 158th Street near the Henry Hudson Parkway at about 2:00 a.m. on Jan. 1. He was placed in a nearby police cruiser after a breath test is said to have revealed his blood alcohol level to be .09 percent. The legal driving limit in New York for motorists under the age of 21 is .02 percent. After being left unattended for a brief time, police say that the teen crawled into the front of the cruiser and sped away. Reports did not indicate how he had managed to escape the handcuffs that had been placed on him.
Police say that they used the cruiser's GPS system to track the vehicle to Saw Mill Road in Yonkers. Officers with the Yonkers Police Department including K-9 units are said to have found the teen at approximately 4:00 a.m. His bond was subsequently set at $50,000. Police say that the man had a 13-year-old passenger in his vehicle when he was stopped.
While the consequences of a drunk driving conviction can be severe, experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise their clients to cooperate with police and not risk further, and more serious, charges by trying to escape. Attorneys may urge prosecutors to drop or reduce charges against young offenders by arguing that their actions could be put down to the indiscretions of youth, but this could be a difficult argument to make when their clients have attempted to evade law enforcement and may have endangered members of the public in doing so.