Charges filed against juvenile accused of stealing MAX transit b - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Charges filed against juvenile accused of stealing MAX transit bus

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A 15-year-old boy charged with escaping police custody then stealing a MAX transit bus has been charged in Jefferson County Family Court.

The boy, whose name WBRC is not releasing because he’s a juvenile, is charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count of theft of property.

The teen’s mother confirmed that information on Monday afternoon.

The charges stem from a situation that started early Sunday morning when police say that teen escaped from police custody and stole a MAX transit bus as a getaway vehicle.  

Officers say he eventually ditched the bus after hitting two patrol cars.

Around 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon, the teen's mother turned him over to police custody.

“I don't know what he was thinking; what he was feeling. He did take a minor incident and escalated it where several citizens, officers, and himself were placed in danger,” said Birmingham Police Lieutenant Pete Williston.

He says officers are still trying to determine exactly how the boy stole the bus. 

Monday morning, Max Interim Director Chris Ruffin released a statement to WBRC:

At the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, we take safety very seriously for our employees and our customers. This incident is a rare occurrence at our agency. We consistently monitor and secure our fleet daily to prevent any potential issues. As a safety precaution due to expected flooding conditions this past weekend, it has been our process to move our smaller buses to higher ground. We are pleased that no one was injured during this situation.

Monday afternoon, MAX released a second statement that says:

The safety of our buses and operators are a top priority at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority. We believe this was a rare occurrence involving a theft of this kind. 

BJCTA has been in the same location for over 30 years and consistently been upgrading our facility with new security features and procedures, to address the active safety of our assets and employees. When not in use, each one of our buses are generally stored behind the security gate, however, because the area is prone to flooding, the smaller ones were moved to prevent any weather-related issues.
Due to the road elevation, flooding has been a consistent concern for our agency.

Officials with Jefferson County Juvenile Detention released a statement saying they believe there is hope for the teen. It reads:

Today, a 15-year-old youth escaped Birmingham police and stole a MAX transit bus as a getaway vehicle. Unfortunately, his guardian would not take custody of him. Therefore, he was placed into protective custody and taken to the Jefferson County Youth Detention Facility.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we requested the youth to be transported to Children’s Hospital for a medical evaluation," stated Monique Grier, Director of Jefferson County Youth Detention. "Once cleared, we will process him into the detention center. While in detention, the 15-year-old youth will attend school, participate in programs, and attend optional religious services."

Jefferson County Youth Detention provides the highest quality of structured care to our youth through a variety of creative programs and services that teach accountability. There is a tremendous need for effective supportive services within the community. It is imperative that our youth have access to positive recreational, vocational, and employment opportunities. Not one of our young people are expendable- and the County doesn’t want to see anyone discarded.

“This instance serves as an additional testament to the importance of community," Grier said. "The 15-year-old has been accused of serious violations, but we all have a duty to care. This child could greatly benefit from a needs-based assessment, mentoring, and strong supervision. All of which he will receive while under the charge of the G. Ross Bell Youth Detention Center."

The Youth Detention Facility believes that family support and community reinvestment can help decrease the number of people that go into the juvenile justice system. Together, we can make a difference. Let’s work together to help break the cycle.

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