PHOENIX (AP) — A 911 call released Friday provides a dramatic account of a tragic joyride by an 8-year-old boy in his mother’s car as he swerved through traffic, turned around at a convenience store and eventually slamming into a light pole, killing his 6-year-old sister.
The caller followed the car up and down a main Phoenix road before it crashed, causing minor injuries to the 8-year-old driver.
“I’m driving and it looks like next to me there are these two little kids driving a car,” said the caller, who identified himself as Rudy de la Cruz. “They’re in a red car and it looks like two little kids, and they’re driving like recklessly. They’re all over the lanes and not stopping.”
At about the same time, the children’s mother called 911 in a panic to report someone had taken her two older children and her car was gone.
“My car’s been stolen and my kids have been taken,” Glendolyn Bell tells dispatchers.
The sobbing mom is heard begging for help from neighbors and then discovering her spare key is missing.
Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos said there’s nothing to indicate the children’s mother would face any charges in the Wednesday night crash.
“There’s really no criminal element to any of it,” Martos said. “From mom’s standpoint, there’s nothing to indicate any neglect or abuse. From the kid’s point, he’s 8 years old so his mental state is not culpable.”
The mother bathed the children Wednesday night, put them to bed, and then went to bed herself. A half-hour later, her mother apparently came to their apartment and Bell discovered the children missing.
Meanwhile, de la Cruz was following the red Hyundai down a nearby main thoroughfare for about three miles, reporting to the dispatcher as the young driver drifted into oncoming traffic.
“It’s a red car and it looks like they’ve already hit a few things, actually, the bumper’s messed up, there’s like scratches in the back,’ he says. “Oh my God, OK, they almost hit somebody, they’re swerving out of control right now.”
The car later pulled into a convenience store, and other drivers are heard honking their horns as the boy circled back and began heading back toward his home.
De la Cruz was reporting their progress the whole way, alternately coached and praised by the female dispatcher.
“You’re doing a great job, OK? I just want you to stay on the phone with me, OK?” she said.
Then, a squad car intercepted the sedan, and de la Cruz gave a tragic play-by-play.
“OK, they’re pulling them over, they turned on their lights right now. … OK. Ohhhh, man.”
“Did the boy stop for the police?” the dispatcher asks.
“Yes, yes they stopped. He just crashed right now.”
“The little boy crashed?
The crash happened just three blocks from the family’s apartment. Six-year-old Aaliyah Felder later died from her injuries.
The mother ran over after seeing the police activity and was visibly distraught after discovering her children were in the car, Martos said.
“It was a horrible and tragic moment for her,” he said.