Tahlequah Woman's Caution Helps Her In Violent Carjacking
TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma - Five teenagers are recovering from injuries after police say they ran away from a juvenile facility, stole a woman's truck in Tahlequah and crashed into a traffic pole at a busy intersection.
The victim reportedly told officers one of the young boys threatened to kill her with a knife.
ODOT crews put up a new traffic pole at Coffee Hollow and Highway 62, where the chase ended.
Police said the victim couldn't have reacted in a better way to the situation she faced.
There's not much left of the victim's pickup truck, after Tahlequah police say a teenager stole it from a woman in the Walmart parking lot.
"It was a pretty violent crash," said Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King.
Tahlequah officers said the 16-year-old who was driving the truck didn't seem to be breathing, and was pinned between the steering wheel and the seat.
"Officer Leatherwood is a former paramedic EMT and so they removed the driver from the car and were able to get him breathing again before the ambulance got there," King said.
Officers said Walmart surveillance video shows that same teenager trying to open several car doors in the parking lot before making his way to a woman unloading her groceries.
She reportedly told officers the teen put a knife to her back, and told her if she screamed he would kill her.
King said by staying calm, the woman was able to avoid a dangerous situation.
"Called us, gave a good description of her vehicle, and of the person who pulled the knife on her. And we were able to locate her vehicle because of that. Because she didn't panic. Because she paid attention," King said.
The teen picked up four other young men before leading police on a chase down South Muskogee Avenue, reaching 110 miles per hour at one point.
After the crash, officers discovered it was the same group of five teenagers who they'd been looking for earlier in the day.
King said they sneaked away from the Cherokee Nation Jack Brown juvenile facility.
"They left without permission. They were supposed to be detained there and they were not," King said.
The district attorney will determine if the teenagers will be charged as adults.
All five teenagers have been released from the hospital.
The Cherokee Nation Jack Brown facility could not be reached for comment.