A teenaged girl was arrested by Titusville Police early Friday after allegedly leading officers in a high-speed pursuit using a stolen vehicle.
The 14-year-old girl accused of driving the vehicle is in custody with Crawford County Juvenile Probation and is facing felony charges. A separate 15-year-old girl who was a passenger in the vehicle was not charged, and was released back to her parents. According to Titusville Police Lieutenant Aaron Madden, who was involved in the chase, both girls are from Oil City.
The pursuit began around 12:42 a.m. when Titusville Police attempted to stop a maroon Ford Expedition in the parking lot of McDonald’s. As officers left their cruiser and began approaching the Expedition, the vehicle reportedly took off and headed southbound onto state Route 8.
Officers returned to their cruiser and gave chase, activating their lights and sirens. According to police, the Expedition turned onto Black and Dutch Hill roads, eventually circling back onto state Route 8 and returning to Titusville.
The chase continued northbound on Franklin Street, where the teenaged driver reportedly made a sudden turn into the parking lot of Sav-A-Lot. There, the driver maneuvered the vehicle to the southeast corner of the parking lot and “ramped the parking blocks,” according to police, traveling over the side walk and jumping the curb onto South Martin Street.
Pursuit stretched across multiple roads in Titusville, including Water, South Brown, Bank, Roberts and East Bloss streets before reaching state Route 8 again, heading southbound.
As Titusville Police continued to give chase for several miles heading into Venango County, Franklin-based State Police troopers deployed a spike strip roughly a mile ahead of the Expedition. The vehicle hit the strip, successfully deflating the front two tires. However, pursuit continued for a few more miles, with the tires degrading from the damage.
“The tires were slowly ripping and shredding until they were driving on just rims,” Madden told The Herald. “There was a time when you saw sparks.”
The Expedition traveled off the road and became disabled in Rouseville. Officers were able to successfully detain the passenger and driver, transporting them back to the Titusville Police Department. During follow-up investigation by police, it was discovered that the Expedition had recently been reported stolen.
The 14-year-old girl was charged with one felony count of fleeing and eluding, recklessly endangering another person, unauthorized use, drivers required to be licenses and multiple traffic violations. After notifying her parents, police turned the girl over to Crawford County Juvenile Probation.
Madden said that since the passenger did not operate the vehicle during the chase, no charges could be brought against her.
Ray can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.