(KRON) — A group of Monterey County teenagers stole an SUV, evaded law enforcement, drove the wrong way on Highway 101 in Salinas, and caused a major head-on crash Tuesday night, police said.
The Greenfield Police Department said the incident is a grim wakeup call for what can happen when juveniles make bad decisions. “A tragic event transpired in our community. To our younger community members, remember: while California laws might seem lenient on delinquent behavior, the rules of physics do not discriminate by age. We urge you to think twice before committing a crime. Consider the potential consequences,” police wrote on Facebook Wednesday.
Police said the incident began when the group of teenagers stole a Kia SUV in Greenfield on Oak Avenue. “Despite our extensive search efforts, the vehicle eluded us,” GPD wrote.
Later that same evening, the stolen Kia was spotted first on the Monterey Peninsula and later in Salinas. “Unfortunately, the teens drove the vehicle the wrong way on Highway 101, leading to a head-on collision,” Greenfield police wrote.
All of the teenagers inside the stolen Kia, as well as people inside the vehicle that was struck head-on, suffered life-threatening and serious injuries.
“At this moment, we ask you to join us in extending thoughts and prayers for everyone affected by this tragic event,” Greenfield police wrote.
Police alerted local schools about the crash and students are being offered emotional support. To prevent future tragedies, GPD urged juveniles against giving in to peer pressure. “We believe in your ability to make the right choices,” police wrote.
The California Highway Patrol did not immediately respond to KRON4’s request for more information about the crash and investigation.