A pair of runaways from Missouri who allegedly stole a donation jar from a Crescent Junction gas station were injured last week when the vehicle they were traveling in rolled over near the town of Green River.
The 16-year-old driver was airlifted by helicopter to Utah Valley Hospital in Provo for treatment of a broken leg and possible internal injuries. A 17-year-old passenger accused of stealing the donation jar was transported to Castleview Hospital in Price and was subsequently booked into a juvenile detention facility after hospital staffers cleared him.
The suspects’ names are being withheld because they are under the age of 18.
Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Ty Roberts said that dispatchers first received a report of a robbery at Papa Joe’s Stop & Go in Crescent Junction at about 2:22 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 2. The reporting party told dispatchers that a gray vehicle with no license plates was traveling westbound on Interstate 70 at a high rate of speed.
Roberts and a Utah Highway Patrol trooper, along with Emery County Sheriff’s deputies, responded to the report and began to pursue the gray Toyota Corolla after it was located by the eastern I-70 interchange near Green River. The vehicle continued to head west on the interstate until about milepost 131, when the driver veered off onto a frontage road and then headed north toward the unpaved Buckhorn Draw Road.
Roberts said that the driver lost control of the vehicle about 3 miles north of the interstate, causing it to roll over.
Both juveniles were rescued from the vehicle and then transported from the scene for medical care; Grand County Sheriff’s detectives subsequently aided in a follow-up investigation.
Roberts said that authorities later retrieved video surveillance from Papa Joe’s, which allegedly shows the juvenile passenger running into the gas station and grabbing the donation or tip jar while the driver waited outside. According to Roberts, the donation jar contained about $500.
The alleged thief did not produce a weapon, Roberts said.
The driver remains in the hospital, and Roberts said that authorities in Missouri are planning to extradite the pair back to that state to face charges in an unrelated case.
Under the law, both suspects are presumed to be innocent unless or until a court formally convicts them of any charges.
Juveniles face additional charges in Missouri