'He cranked the car up and took off:' 11-year-old boy steals, crashes car in Georgetown County

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – An 11-year-old boy reportedly stole and crashed a car Tuesday morning after running away from his foster family in Georgetown County.

According to a Georgetown County Sheriff's Office incident report, deputies responded to the area of North Fraser Street and Bromell Avenue just after 6:00 a.m. in regards to a reckless driver who appeared to be a child. While responding to the incident, deputies were informed the car had crashed. Deputies recognized the child, who was not injured, from an incident earlier in the day after the juvenile attempted to run away from the foster family. The child was out of control and "showing a lot of rage" when deputies arrived on scene, the report says. The boy had to be restrained before being transported to a local hospital due to him being a special needs child.

Mark Johnson said he called 911 to alert authorities when he saw the boy in the driver's seat of the car while in the parking lot of the Plantersville Grocery Store.

"I wanted to stop him from going anywhere, but he locked the door and the funny thing is he was a little kid, but he put the seatbelt on," Johnson said. "I just thought, 'Uh oh, he's going to crank up' and we couldn't get him to stop. Hopefully he'll get some help and be OK, and he had a little dog in the car too and we were worried about him and the dog."

Johnson added he and the owner of the Plantersville General Store tried to calm the boy down, but he looked visibly upset.

"The young man said someone had stolen their money and I looked and could tell he was petrified and we tried to calm him down, but he jumped in the car and locked the door. He cranked the car up and took off and almost ran into the gas pumps as he backed up," Johnson said.

The boy reportedly told deputies he took the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta because he was trying to return to his home in Florence County. As deputies were speaking to the child, the 63-year-old victim called and reported her car stolen and the boy missing.

She was then informed that both had been recovered, the report confirms. A youth advocate told deputies the Department of Social Services was contacted after the boy initially ran away and that they would not be placing him in another home as this was the second time he had been placed due to him running way, deputies say.

"It was scary when I heard what happened. I thank God the child is safe and alright," said Lillian McCrae, who has been a foster parent in the Plantersville area for more than 15 years.

McCrae heard what happened and was curious if she knew they boy.

"We look out for each other as foster parents. In the group I'm in (in) Plantersville, I wanted to try to figure out if it was one of our foster children I am affiliated with and parents we go to meetings with, but come to find out I am not familiar with the child."

No charges will be filed because of the boy's disability. A physician said he was going to hold the child for mental evaluation. The youth advocate also said she would stay at the hospital until DSS contacted her so she could inform them of the situation.

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