‘We’re not going to sweep this under the rug’ – Chicago Tribune newstrendslive

Robbins officials expressed sorrow Tuesday and cited legal hurdles in charging three 13-year-old boys who they say stole a Kia and crashed it into a vehicle, killing 70-year-old resident Donald Carter, whose family is calling for justice and accountability.

Tracy Olawumi, Carter’s niece, said her family is disappointed the juveniles were released to their parents. Olawumi said there is a trend across the state of the “Kia kids,” or young teenagers who steal Kia cars.

“They killed someone in their recklessness,” Olawumi said. “We’re not going to sweep this under the rug. He was loved.”

Robbins Mayor Darren Bryant said it is a tough time following a tragic accident.

“My prayers, my condolences, my sensibility goes out to the family at this time,” Bryant said.

Bryant called for juvenile justice reform because he said in one afternoon three juveniles committed three crimes in one act: stealing a car, driving under the legal age and taking a life.

“Somebody needs to be held accountable,” Bryant said.

On 2:30 p.m. Sunday, a Robbins officer saw a Kia with a broken driver’s side window traveling north on Kedzie Avenue and drove in the direction it was headed.

The Kia crashed into a Ford Taurus, driven by Carter, who was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he died from his injuries, police said.

The three 13-year-old boys in the KIA were arrested at the scene, but police said Monday they had all been released to their respective parents.

Robbins Mayor Darren Bryant and police Chief David Sheppard, left, give an update Tuesday regarding Sunday's fatal crash that killed 70-year-old resident Donald Carter.

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Robbins police Chief David Sheppard also expressed his condolences to the family saying the accident “is something that could’ve been prevented.” Sheppard acknowledged the crime fits the pattern of the “Kia kids,” but declined to comment about the teenagers because of the pending investigation.

Under Illinois law, police can hold individuals 12 years and younger for six hours and individuals 12 years and older for 24 hours, Sheppard said.

Within 24 hours of Sunday’s accident, Robbins police couldn’t gather the evidence needed to charge the juveniles in this case without a warrant, so they were released to their parents, Sheppard said.

On Monday afternoon, he said police filed for a search warrant with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office but as of Tuesday morning it had not been approved. Once the warrant is approved, police need a judge to approve it and then have 96 hours to execute the warrant, he said.

“We are handcuffed by state laws in juvenile cases,” Sheppard said. “In Cook County, people aren’t being held accountable for what they’re doing.”

Bertha Olawumi, Carter’s older sister, said her brother had looked forward to being able to drive again after recovering from an accident. She described him as a fun guy who would tease her about her fear of worms.

“We’re going to miss him dearly. We’re just disgusted the perpetrators are free,” Bertha Olawumi said. “These kids are big enough to do this stuff then they should be held accountable. If not them, then their parents.”

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