VERDE VILLAGE -- Sheriff's investigators have pieced together a rollover and fire that destroyed a Toyota SUV on Old Highway 279 at Quail Run Ranch Road.
Aug. 5, about 6:30 a.m., Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to a vehicle crash on Old 279 at Quail Springs Ranch Road, east of Verde Village. Police officers had already detained two juveniles rummaging in the vehicle. The two 12-years-olds told deputies they were walking down the road and came upon the overturned vehicle. One of the boys had blood on his pants and a bandaged right hand, which he claimed happened while checking the vehicle for occupants.
The parents of both were notified and arrived at the accident. Both parents said their sons were supposed to be staying the night with a friend. The owner of the white 1998 Toyota 4-Runner had reported his car stolen and did not know the two boys. One of the detained 12-year-olds apparently had stayed at the Lariat Circle home last night. The SUV owner found that his 14-year-old daughter may have had phone contact with a 14-year-boy on Lariat Circle. Deputies investigated the connection.
As the 12-year-olds unraveled the truth, deputies learned the daughter of the Toyota owner had contacted her 14-year-old friend who also lives on Lariat Circle, and asked him to move her dad's car since it was not parked correctly. She told the boy the house was unlocked and the car keys were in a kitchen cabinet. The 14-year-old then called his two 12-year-old friends and they all walked to the house on Verde View Drive shortly after midnight. The group decided to take the Toyota for a "joy ride."
All three juveniles took turns driving the car in areas including Cottonwood, Jerome, and Sedona. Around 3 a.m., they picked up a 13-year-old boy and drove to the Lariat Circle home. At this house, the 14-year-old decided to steal his mom's 2011 Honda and drive around while following the Toyota driven by the others.
In the morning, one of the 12-year-olds was driving the Toyota, took a turn too fast, and rolled the vehicle. They blamed the other. Both 12-year-olds were treated at Verde Valley Medical Center and then booked at the Prescott Juvenile Detention Facility for burglary and vehicle theft.
Later that day, deputies went to the Lariat Circle home and arrested the 14-year-old for burglary and for two counts of vehicle theft - both the Toyota and Honda. He was also taken to Juvenile Detention.
The next day, deputies followed up with the Toyota owner and his daughter. On Aug. 4, she texted her friend on Lariat Circle, and asked him to park the car for her. She had driven it the night before and did not park it correctly. She claimed no knowledge of her friend's intent to steal the car. She was arrested and booked into Juvenile Detention Center for facilitation of a criminal act.
One week later, deputies contacted the 13-year-old boy who had been picked up around 3 a.m. on Aug. 5. He also admitted driving the Toyota that morning and was arrested and booked at the Prescott Juvenile Detention for theft and unlawful use of a vehicle.