Teens wreck stolen vehicle in Boone County

After colliding with a bridge west of Hartsburg, a group of runaway Iowa teenagers in a stolen vehicle then tried to flee the wreck — three even tried to swim the Missouri River — before they were taken into custody by law enforcement.

One of the teens, a 15-year-old female, suffered substantial injuries and was flown to a Columbia hospital, where she remained on Monday. A second 15-year-old male with lesser injuries was taken by ambulance, treated and released to juvenile authorities.

The accident happened at a rural bridge over Hart Creek along East Hartsburg Bottom Road in Southern Boone County. After approaching the bridge at a high rate of speed, the car — a stolen 2001 Chevy Blazer — apparently went airborne before it tumbled several times across the bridge. It then rolled off the bridge and landed in the creek bed below.

A farm worker heard the crash from almost a mile away, went to see what happened and called 911.

The five teens, who range in age from 13 to 16, are from Indianola, Iowa. One had taken the SUV without permission, said Maj. Tom Reddin with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

Four of the five had been reported as runaways from Iowa.

Reddin said two of the teens are being detained at the Robert Perry Juvenile Justice Center in Boone County and two more have been released to their parents or guardians.

The bridge, which spans Hart Creek, is surrounded by farmland. The bridge is not far from the Missouri River, where several of the teens fled, Reddin said. After conducting a search with a helicopter and boats, Boone County deputies and Missouri Highway Patrol officers located the three before they were able to cross the river.

Reddin did not know why the teens were in Boone County. They have not been questioned by law enforcement, he said.

“The rule of law says that a parent, guardian or friendly adult must be there to interview the kids,” he said.

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