State rep. reflects on crash involving 12-year-old driver, stolen vehicle

Crime

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Shocking video shows the chaos a 12-year-old caused as he ran from police in a stolen SUV. Now, the state lawmaker the boy crashed into, injuring his family, is reflecting on the crash. It’s a dramatic ending to Representative Zach Cook’s trip last month to Las Cruces.


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“There was a car just barreling towards us. I tried to move around it. There was nowhere to go and there was no time either. He just ended up crashing into us,” Cook said.

Cook and his family, who live in Ruidoso, were in town just heading to shop when a long police chase ended with a young driver crashing into them. It all started earlier that afternoon with a fellow driver taking a picture, shocked to see a kid behind the wheel.

When deputies tried to pull over the boy, he took off. He forces other vehicles out of the way, weaving through traffic and runs red lights. He suddenly turns into a hotel parking lot where four other teens bail but the driver keeps going. The boy ends up in the off-ramp going the wrong way where he hit Cook’s minivan head-on.

“My mother-in-law broke her arm and spent two nights in Memorial Hospital in Las Cruces. They did surgery and put pins in her arms. My wife broke two ribs,” Cook said.

Cook says he and his sons had bruises and cuts. The 12-year-old driver says it wasn’t his fault and blamed the others who bailed from the car. Deputies say the SUV was stolen and they found a gun that had been dumped by one of the other kids.

“You hear a 12-year-old kid had stolen a car. It’s just, it was sad more than anything. I saw the child handcuffed and they were putting him in a car and he just looked scared to death,” Cook said.

Deputies say the other kids ranged in age from 12 to 17. They have not publicly released any of their names.

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