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Virginia teen in dangerous police case could be tried as adult

A 15-year-old Virginia boy could be facing multiple charges, including attempted capital murder, after leading police on a dangerous chase through three counties. It included some time on Interstate 95 and ended in Spotsylvania. Although multiple vehicles were struck and one rolled over, there were no serious injuries.

According to authorities, the boy is a resident of a group home in Midlothian, Virginia. It was not reported why the teen is there, but the home is part of the Grafton Integrated Health Network, which deals with people with everything from family issues to severe autism.

It has not yet been determined whether the defendant will be tried as a juvenile or adult. Besides the attempted capital murder charge, which stems from ramming into a state police car, other possible charges include hit-and-run, eluding police, grand larceny and reckless driving.

The Feb. 16 incident, which was captured on video by other motorists, began when the young man managed to get the keys to a school van and took off in it. While traveling northbound on I-95, he hit a vehicle. He did not stop then or when officers began pursuing him. He ended up flipping over and landing in a Spotsylvania ditch.

A television legal analyst said that the defendant's disabilities and background will be considered when determining whether these will be considered adult or juvenile crimes. If prosecutors and the judge decide to try him as an adult, he could go to prison for the rest of his life if convicted.

Juvenile courts and adult courts are considerably different. However, young people who are accused of criminal offenses, regardless of which type of court they are tried in, are entitled to legal representation and the protection of their rights.

Source: NBC 12, "NEW INFO: Teen suspected of stealing van, leading police on pursuit" Liz Rivera and Kelly Avellino, Feb. 17, 2014

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