By Cliff Pinckard
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WHITEHALL, Ohio — Four juveniles, one just 12 years old, were arrested Monday after police say they rammed a patrol car while trying to escape in a stolen vehicle in an incident caught on video.
Whitehall Police Chief Mike Crispen expressed frustration in a news release after the incident Monday night, saying the 16-year-old driver was “smiling and laughing” while he was being arrested.
“It seems these juveniles are not concerned with the ramifications to their actions and they think this is funny,” Crispen said.
Police in Whitehall spotted the 2018 Hyundai, which had been reported stolen from Grove City, at about 8 p.m. Monday. The four juveniles in the vehicle, 16, 15, 13 and 12 years old, reportedly had fled from police in Grove City.
Whitehall officers waited for the Hyundai to park at a Turkey Hill convenience store, then surrounded it with three patrol cars. Despite being boxed in, the teen driver began ramming the patrol cars in an attempt to escape, police say.
Video shows an officer, with a weapon drawn, approach the vehicle and try to stop it. The Hyundai again tries to drive off, but another patrol car pins it against an unoccupied parked vehicle next to the Hyundai.
Deputy Chief Dan Kelso said incidents involving juveniles are becoming “all too common in Franklin County and the greater Columbus area.”
“We struggle to balance the danger the juveniles create for our citizens while driving these stolen cars with the danger and havoc they create when we try to take them into custody for their crimes,” Kelso said. “Furthermore, this comes at a time when we as police experience the same supply-chain issues as everyone else when we have to fix our cruisers.”
Police believe the juveniles are connected to the theft of another vehicle earlier on Monday.
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