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Runaways Crash Car, End Up in Police Custody

Four George Washington Middle School students are facing a variety of criminal charges after a road trip ended with a car accident in Warren County, Va.

The three seventh graders and one eighth grader decided to run away from their homes in Alexandria. They were apparently on their way to California. They took a bank card from the mother of one of the seventh graders and withdrew just under $2,000. The eighth grader then took his mother’s car.

Parents and Alexandria police became aware that the boys were gone when the mother of the eighth grader received a call from Virginia State Police at around 5 a.m. on Feb. 9. The trooper informed her that her car and her son had been involved in an accident in Warren County and that the four boys were being held.

According to the police, the boys left Interstate 66 because they had to use the restroom. The 14-year-old failed to stop at a stop sign and lost control of the car. None of the boys was seriously injured. The 14-year-old spent the weekend in the Warren County Juvenile Detention Center and the three other boys were released to their parents. All have been charged with unlawful use of a vehicle and the seventh grader, who took his mother’s bank card and withdrew money, has been charged with credit card theft and fraud.

“These young people are very lucky that this ended as it did,” said Amy Bertsch, a spokesperson for the Alexandria Police Department. “They might have been killed.”

The youngsters did not have drivers licenses nor did they have permission to use the vehicle.

“I hope that the other students at school who are hearing this story realize that the police and the courts are taking this very seriously and that these youngsters are facing criminal charges,” said Carolyn Buckenmaier, the director of elementary and middle school education for the Alexandria City public schools. “Also, they could have been hurt or killed or they could have killed someone else.”