Malden child takes parents' car, ends in wreck

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

Malden, MO (KAIT) - An early morning accident sent a 10-year old boy to the St. Louis Children's Hospital after crashing his family's Chevrolet Cavalier at Lincoln Lacy Chevrolet in Malden, according to police. Police said the crash happened at 4:30 Friday morning on Business Highway 25. Police said the car entered a ditch next to Memorial Park Cemetery before going airborne into a utility pole, light pole and 2 other cars. The car ended its journey upside down in the ditch.

"Maybe 30-45 minutes, they were on the ground and he was later air-evaced to St. Louis at a children's hospital," said Jarrett Bullock, Malden Chief of Police.

Bullock told Region 8 News a witness called 911 after seeing the accident. Other witnesses told police they heard what sounded like gun shots.

"He observed the vehicle. It was a black, 2 door vehicle, southbound here on Business 25 at a high rate of speed," said Bullock.

Bullock said witnesses told him the car looked to be traveling 90 miles an hour. Once the car came to the end of the ditch, the car jumped and struck a utility pole while in air. The top of the car hit the poles and police believe the boy was ejected through the rear glass.

"He had some major head injuries it looked like, according to an officer on scene," said Bullock. "He was awake at some period and I spoke with a medic and he stated that he was very critical at this point."

Late Friday afternoon, Bullock said the Malden dispatcher spoke with the boy's mother. The mother reportedly told authorities doctors in St. Louis had placed her son in a drug-induced coma. The boy came out of the coma and was alert and speaking. The boy's injuries are so severe, he'll have surgery to repair damaged eye sockets. The boy has been taken off ventilation. The boy is also suffering from a crushed skull and broken collar bone.

"I've spoke with the boy before, you know, small town, the other officers know him, know his family. It's just a tragic event. We really don't know. We spoke with the mother. We didn't ascertain any information on how this might have occurred," said Bullock.

Bullock said the mother and step father were both sleeping at the time of the accident. Police said the mother was shocked to hear of the situation.

"She had no idea. Stepfather had no idea and after she was awakened at that time in the morning, she was in shock, naturally. Officers described her as basically, she really didn't believe what was going on until she seen her son being loaded onto the air-evac and onto the back of the ambulance," said Bullock.

"Phone rang and, of course, I looked at the clock at 5:03. That kind of call always shocks you because you never know if it's your kids or your mom and dad or something might be wrong. It's almost always a problem," said Curt Hillis, manager of Lincoln Lacy Chevrolet.

Hillis said 11 vehicles were damaged in the accident worth an estimated $15,000. Two trucks sustained damage from debris. Other vehicles received damage through battery acid and motor oil.

"I was really shocked when I pulled in. I had no idea on the extent of the damage and when I found out it involved a young man and he was hurt pretty bad, it really upset me," said Hillis.

Bullock said the boy weighs about 70-80 pounds. Hillis said it'd be difficult for a child that size to drive safely.

"It'd be difficult, of course, for him to have any control of the vehicle. It would be almost impossible," said Hillis. "The family and the young man right now and what concerns me most. I hate to see any accident that involved anybody. Apparently he's hurt pretty badly and our thoughts go out to his family. The trucks, that's just an ole piece of metal that can be replaced. That's why we have insurance and we'll be okay on that, but I just really hate it that somebody got hurt."

When asked if the family will face any type of charges, Bullock said that all depends on the Dunklin County Juvenile's Office, which will review the incident.

"The main goal is to make sure the kid is going to be okay, and make sure the parents know we're here to do whatever we can for him. But there was a state law violated by a juvenile and we do have to do the formal reports and file them to the Dunklin County Juvenile's Office," said Bullock.

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