Two juveniles, ages 11 and 12, are in detention after they crashed a stolen car while racing another vehicle Wednesday evening on St. Paul's East Side.
As many as six kids in a stolen Toyota RAV4 ran from the wreck, which occurred about 6:30 p.m. in the vicinity of E. Ivy Avenue and Flandrau Street in the Prosperity Heights neighborhood. Police found two of the minors, one 11 and one 12, a short distance away, said police spokesman Steve Linders.
Witnesses called 911 when they saw the RAV4 and another vehicle racing through the neighborhood. The juvenile driver lost control, slammed into a retaining wall and struck a tree. The second vehicle, a dark-colored hatchback, drove away from the scene. Police are still looking for that driver and the vehicle, Linders said.
Police, going off descriptions given by witnesses, spotted the 11- and 12-year-olds at a bus stop on White Bear Avenue shortly after the wreck. As officers approached, the 12-year-old tossed a BB gun that was a realistic-looking replica of a .40 caliber handgun into a snowbank behind a bench, Linders said.
"This is frightening and hard to understand," Linders said. "But we are seeing this more and more, so it is not shocking."
Police have yet to locate the other teens who were in the RAV4.
The incident, Linders said, underscores the need to get kids connected with positive activities, such as the department's Police Activities League. This week, officers took teenagers fishing on Rush Lake, an hour north of the Twin Cities, as part of that program.
"We'd much rather have them going fishing or playing basketball than racing through neighborhoods in stolen cars," he said.
Wednesday's incident remains under investigation. Anybody with information is asked to call St. Paul police at 651-291-1111.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768