Danville teen arrested for fleeing after wrecking ATV

Published 11:14 am Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Danville teen was arrested Tuesday evening after trying to evade police and wrecking his 4-wheeler in a Danville neighborhood, just as children began trick-or-treating in the area.

At 5:47 p.m. Tuesday, Danville Police responded to a complaint about people riding 4-wheelers and a dirt bike on Chestnut Street. When officers arrived they saw one male, who was later identified as William J. Stephens, 18, of Danville, riding a 4-wheeler on the street. When they attempted to stop him by flashing emergency lights and sirens, Stephens sped away in an attempt to flee the area.


Officers soon located Stephens at the intersection of Parkview Drive and Cecil Street where he had wrecked his vehicle into trees as he was trying to escape from police.

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Stephens was not injured and was taken into custody without incident and lodged in the Boyle County Detention Center. He was charged with first-degree fleeing or evading police; operating an ATV on a road; and reckless driving.

Officers were told not to pursue the driver of the ATV because the neighborhoods were full of trick-or-treaters and their parents, said Danville Police Sgt. Chris Wentz. After helping Stephens out of the treeline he had crashed into, Wentz said he asked him how old he was. When Stephens said 18, Wentz decided to arrest him. “I told him he could have run over one of those little babies,” Wentz said. And if that had happened, Stephens could have been arrested for manslaughter. “It’s not funny anymore,” Wentz said, because someone could have been killed.

Riding dirt bikes and ATVs on city streets is “unacceptable,” Wentz said, adding that he is all for ATVs and dirt bikes, “but you have to find the proper place to ride them.”

Wentz said DPD has received numerous ATV and dirt-bike riding complaints recently. However, the suspects can’t be arrested unless they’re caught in the act, he said.

DPD is warning the public not to drive ATVs on the roads within city limits or on private property without consent. Anyone violating the law is subject to being charged and having the vehicle impounded.