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Teen boys crash stolen car into 71-year-old man, killing him

By Sarah May
|
February 14, 2023

In tragic news out of Illinois, a 71-year-old man was killed Sunday when the vehicle he was driving was hit by a Kia that had been stolen by a trio of 13-year-old boys, as Chicago's WGN reports.

The incident took place in the Cook County town of Robbins, Illinois, less than 30 miles southwest of the Windy City, and the victim has been identified as Donald Carter, Sr., according to ABC affiliate WLS-TV.

Horrific scene unfolds

Fox 32 in Chicago reported that around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, a police officer in Robbins observed a Kia vehicle with a broken driver's side window on Kedzie Avenue, subsequently notifying dispatch personnel and heading in the car's direction.

It was then that the officer spotted smoke rising from wreckage located several blocks ahead.

At that point, the officer discovered the Kia had been involved in a crash with a Ford Taurus that had sustained severe damage.

It was apparent that the driver of the Taurus had sustained serious injuries as a result of the impact, and despite being transported to the hospital, died after arrival.

Teens arrested, released

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, the Kia remained occupied by three 13-year-old boys, who appeared to have stolen the vehicle and crashed into the Taurus.

All three were arrested at the crash site and transported to the Robbins Police Department.

According to Fox 32, the boys were released into the custody of their parents over the weekend, pending potential charges.

That the youngsters were set free following the alleged theft and killing of Carter was a source of tremendous frustration to the victim’s nephew, Aaron Crutchfield, who told WLS, “There's no reason why they should be at home. My uncle can't go back home. His family can't see him again. It's just not right.”

Kia thefts skyrocket

The incident in Robbins underscores an alarming trend that has captured the attention of law enforcement agencies and insurance companies in which certain vehicles manufactured by Kia and Hyundai have been targeted for theft at skyrocketing rates, as USA Today notes.

The problem has gotten so severe that auto insurance giants Progressive and State Farm recently announced that they would no longer write policies on the aforementioned makes for particular model years and trim levels.

According to Progressive, in certain parts of the country, the cars at issue are nearly 20 times more likely than other vehicles to be targeted for theft, a phenomenon some attribute to a recent social media trend in which posters reveal the steps needed to start the cars without the need for a key.

The Highway Loss Data Institute has suggested that the problem lies with vehicle designs that do not incorporate electronic immobilizers, which in turn, allow would-be thieves to break into the cars and bypass the ignition system altogether, as USA Today further explained.

Family man remembered

Regardless of how or why the three young teens were able to gain access to the Kia they ultimately slammed into Carter's Taurus, the heartache with which the incident leaves those who loved the septuagenarian is undeniable.

Adding an extra layer of tragedy to the story is the fact that Crutchfield only became aware of what happened to his loved one due to the fact that he happened to be driving in the area just after the crash occurred and noticed Carter's familiar blue vehicle in a ditch, recounting, “it looked like his car, but I wasn't sure. I walked up on it, and it was just devastating to see my uncle's car like that. It was in bad shape.”

A retired auto mechanic, father, grandfather, and adored uncle, Carter was described by Crutchfield as someone who “loved us all,” and the victim's grieving nephew further recalled, “Family reunion time he would – he was like a kid. He loved family reunions. He would be so excited.”

There remains no word on potential charges against the three teens accused in the incident, and as such, only time will tell whether justice will ultimately be done on behalf of a well-loved family man taken all too soon.