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Boy runs over brother as two flee crime scene

September 06, 1999

Greg Risling

COSTA MESA -- The life of a Costa Mesa teenager, who celebrated his

17th birthday Sunday, remains uncertain after his younger brother

accidentally ran over his head with a truck while they were trying to

steal three compact discs.

The teen, whose name wasn't released, is trying to recuperate from

head injuries he suffered in the accident at Western Medical Center in

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Santa Ana. The boy is listed in critical condition, authorities said.

The brothers accompanied two friends into a Wherehouse music store on

the 400 block of E. 17th Street on Saturday night. Police said the boys

grabbed three compact discs and ran outside as store employees chased

them.

The younger brother, 15, jumped behind the wheel of his parents' 1999

Ford pickup truck while his older sibling ran onto the truck's bed.

They drove away and went to a nearby parking lot at 17th Street and

Santa Ana Avenue, where the driver slowed the truck before accelerating.

His older brother tried to jump out of the bed and run away but fell to

the ground, police added.

The right rear wheel of the truck, which was traveling between 10 and

25 mph, ran over the victim's head.

When police and paramedics arrived, the other two boys had fled the

scene but the driver was tending to his injured brother.

"It was a prank that went awry and turned into tragedy," Costa Mesa

Police Lt. John FitzPatrick said. "The driver is going to have to live

with this the rest of his life. Our hearts go out to the family."

The younger boy was detained by police and released into the custody

of his parents. FitzPatrick said the Orange County District Attorney's

office will decide later this week if criminal charges will be filed

against the boys.

"We are trying to determine whether we have a traffic accident or a

criminal investigation," he added.

The younger brother reportedly had a learner's permit but was supposed

to be in the presence of an adult when driving.

The teens' family couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.

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