Teen Joyriding in Stolen Vehicle Arrested After Rollover in Salt Lake City

One teen was transported to the hospital and another arrested after rolling a stolen vehicle in Salt Lake City in what could have been a dramatic end to a fast-paced joyriding trip.

Unlawful driving ends in rollover

Photo by: Eric Starck

Late Wednesday night police officers observed a stolen vehicle exceeding the speed limit in downtown Salt Lake City with its headlamps off. After requesting the driver of the vehicle to pull over, the young motorist continued at a high rate of speed, rolling the vehicle shortly after. A teenage girl in the car was taken to the hospital. The 15 year old driver was arrested for charges that could include joyriding or felony theft of a vehicle.

Felony theft of a motor vehicle

In some states, the theft of a motor vehicle is considered grand larceny or vehicle theft. Utah does not categorize vehicle theft in its own category, but instead classifies the crime and punishment depending on the value of an item stolen. According to Utah Code 76-6-412, “theft of property and services . . . is punishable:

• As a second degree felony if the:
o value of the property or services is or exceeds $5,000;
o property stolen is . . . an operable motor vehicle [regardless of vehicle value] . . .”


Not all teens who joyride in another person’s vehicle will face felony charges. There is a difference between felony theft of a vehicle and taking someone else’s car for a spin around the block without their permission. While felony theft of a vehicle is punishable as a second-degree felony, joyriding or “unauthorized control for extended time” could be punishable as a misdemeanor. Utah Code 41-1a-1314 states “. . . is a class A misdemeanor for a person to exercise unauthorized control over a motor vehicle that is not his own, without the consent of the owner or lawful custodian and with the intent to temporarily deprive the owner or lawful custodian of possession of the motor vehicle.” If the vehicle is damaged however, joyriding is then punishable as a third-degree felony.

To borrow or keep?

Since the vehicle driven by the teen was completely totaled in the accident, the teen is likely to face felony charges. Will the teen face second-degree felony theft of a motor vehicle or third-degree joyriding resulting in property damage? It all depends on whether or not the teen planned on giving the vehicle back within 24 hours of taking it. For more information on teen crimes related to theft or borrowing property without permission, contact a juvenile defense attorney.

Students Arrested for Vehicle Theft after Police Pursuit Ends at Utah School

Two Utah students were arrested for vehicle theft after a police pursuit came to an end at their West Jordan high school.

Stealing a ride to school

Photo by: Mark Walker

While many high school students have a hard time waking up in time for class, two teens in West Jordan were up early enough to steal a vehicle. A few hours before Monday morning classes began, two teens found an unattended truck a couple miles away from Copper Hills High School and decided to take it for a spin. The teens were caught on camera speeding through the neighborhood and damaging some nearby landscaping. Eventually the teens eventually made their way to school where there were spotted by police. Instead of finding a parking spot along with other fellow students, the teens took off at a high rate of speed across the parking lot and into the football field. The teens then fled on foot and were apprehended while trying to hide from police.

Vehicle theft

The 17 year old boy and 16 year old girl who started their Monday morning off with some real life ‘Grand Theft Auto’ were taken to a nearby juvenile detention for evading police and vehicle theft. The penalty for theft in Utah varies depending on the value of the item stolen. When that item is an “operable motor vehicle” as stated in Section 76-6-412, the theft is punishable as a second degree felony. This is the case even if the car is a junker with very low monetary value.

Juvenile defense

Photo by: North Charlston

Unless the charges are serious felonies as listed in Utah’s Serious Youth Offender Law (78A-6-702), most cases involving minors will stay within the juvenile court’s jurisdiction. The juvenile court tends to be more lenient than the district court as they take into account what is best for the minor as well as the public. It is still best to consult with a juvenile defense attorney concerning any charges brought against minors, regardless of the severity of those charges.

Utah Teenager Crashes Stolen Vehicle into Home

A teenager from Utah was arrested after she crashed a stolen vehicle into a home, causing major damage to the structure.

Taking the family car for a spin

Photo by: Andy Armstrong
Photo by: Andy Armstrong

18 year old Kylee Westenskow from Ogden, Utah was driving a stolen vehicle belonging to her grandparents when she left the road and crashed into a home in Highland, nearly taking off the side of their garage. When police arrested Westenskow they discovered she was did not have her license and was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident.

Possession of a stolen vehicle

The 18 year old, who according to Facebook is a student at Ben Lomand High School, is facing multiple misdemeanors including DUI and reckless driving. She is also facing a second degree felony for possession of a stolen vehicle; a charge that could put her behind bars for as long as 15 years. Utah Code 76-6-412 states “Theft of property and services as provided in this chapter is punishable:

a) As a second degree felony if the: ( . . . ) Property stolen is a firearm or an operable motor vehicle; ( . . . )”

A young felon

At just 18 years old, this teenager who is likely in her senior year of high school will be a felon if convicted for the charge of possession of a stolen vehicle. Even if she doesn’t serve the full sentence behind bars, the label of felon will follow her for seven years after she has finished her sentence and/or probation. This can make it difficult to get housing and employment which is not something a new adult should have to face.

Juvenile and criminal defense

If any juveniles or pseudo adults are facing criminal charges such as possession of a stolen vehicle, contact an attorney who is experienced in helping individuals of all ages.

Joyriding in Stolen Vehicle Leads to Death of a Police Officer

Authorities have announced that three Utah teenagers who were joyriding in a stolen vehicle are the ones responsible for the death of a West Valley police officer.

Struck by stolen vehicle

Officer struck by stolen vehicle
Photo by: Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916

A report of a stolen vehicle during the early morning hours on Sunday November 6th prompted a quick response by law enforcement. During the short police chase, 25 year old Officer Cody Brotherson exited his vehicle to set up spike strips when the thieves struck Officer Brotherson with the stolen vehicle, killing him. The teens then lost control of the stolen vehicle and were apprehended shortly after.

Not even old enough to drive

The three teenage boys who were responsible for killing Officer Brotherson with the stolen vehicle were not even old enough to drive; two of the teens were 15 years old and the third was only 14. It is not known at this time whether or not the teens deliberately hit Officer Brotherson or if it was a result of poor vision and/or inexperienced drivers.

Possible charges

Although there is no word yet on what kind of charges the teens could be facing, their joyride in a stolen vehicle may end with charges such as:

• Driving without a license, an infraction (53-3-202),
• Driving without vehicle insurance, a class C misdemeanor (41-12a-302)
• Unauthorized control of a motor vehicle (joyriding) that is used to commit a felony, a third degree felony (41-1a-1314),
• Theft of a vehicle, a second degree felony (76-6-412),
• Fleeing police with said action resulting in death or bodily injury of another person, second degree felony ( 41-6a-210),
• Manslaughter, a second degree felony (76-5-205),
• Reckless conduct which results in the murder of a police officer, a first degree felony (76-5-203), and/or
• Aggravated murder, a capital felony (76-5-202). This grave charge is a possibility if investigators determine the teens intentionally hit and killed Officer Brotherson.

A Joyride that was not so joyful

Photo by: David K.
Photo by: David K.

These young Utah teenagers probably didn’t expect their joyride in a stolen vehicle to end in the death of a police officer. It is important for youth to know that there are almost always consequences to poor choices; the penalties for these teens are expected to include criminal charges as well as the life-long guilt from taking another’s life.

Teen Theft from Unlocked Vehicles

Whether living in downtown Salt Lake City or the rural southwest town of Ivins Utah, residents are warned to not have unlocked vehicles with recent statewide theft by teens.

Photo by: Deiwin Steven Campbell
Photo by: Deiwin Steven Campbell

Theft and sometimes vandalism

On June 5th 2015 an 18 year old Ivins, Utah resident was arrested after he got drunk and roamed around leaving scratches on the exterior of several cars and rifling through the owner’s personal property inside the unlocked vehicles. In his drunken stupor he didn’t manage to actually steal anything and unlike most vehicle break ins, he left plenty of evidence for police to catch him, including his blood.

Easy access

Most theft from unlocked cars happens at night when residents are asleep. Without any tools needed, anyone can open a car door and rummage through the belongings unnoticed. This petty theft doesn’t usually involve any damage, besides a dead battery from a door being left ajar and interior lights on. Unlocked vehicles are easy access for bored or broke teens looking for pocket cash, CDs, and other valuables. While cash and change are the main focus for theft from unlocked vehicles, occasionally CDs, GPS devices and even expensive sunglasses will be stolen. However, these items if pawned can be traced back to the thief.

Just because it’s unlocked, doesn’t mean it’s legal

Even though overly trusting Utah residents are at partial fault for the unlocked vehicles, it is still a crime to take property that belongs to someone else. If a teen is caught going through someone else’s vehicle or if they are found with items that are reported missing, the charges could involve criminal mischief, theft, and possession of stolen property. To speak with someone regarding these or other juvenile charges, call a juvenile criminal defense attorney.