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12-year-old crashes after police pursuit in parents' car

October 4, 2012 |  8:48 am

A 12-year-old boy was back home with his family Thursday after taking Orange County sheriff's deputies on a chase in his parents' car.

A deputy first saw him about 1 a.m. Wednesday driving recklessly down Del Obispo Street in San Juan Capistrano but didn't know the driver was a boy. The deputy figured the driver was drunk, and after the driver failed to yield, a pursuit began through the city.

As the car headed about four miles southwest into Dana Point, another deputy joined the pursuit, chasing the Chevy Aveo until it crashed into a tree in the center median of Dana Harbor Drive. The driver managed to bail from the car and run toward the water, just as the Aveo went up in flames.

Deputies had to search for the driver for about five minutes, and by 1:30 a.m. they found the boy hiding in the bushes near a boat dock.

“He’s very fortunate that he wasn’t injured,” said Lt. Joe Balicki of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. “There’s a whole bunch of things that could have gone wrong.”

The boy, who was not identified by authorities, was returned to his parents, Balicki said. The case will be referred to the Orange County district attorney’s office, but it was unknown if charges would be filed against him.

The car belonged to his parents, but the boy’s motive for taking it wasn't clear, Balicki said.

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-- Matt Stevens

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