Teens who led police on high-speed chase through Livonia couldn't be jailed due to lack of space
LIVONIA - Teens led Livonia police on a high-speed chase with speeds topping 120 miles per hour, but officers couldn't lock them up because of a lack of jail space.
“When everything was said and done, we're looking at this situation with juveniles and absolutely nowhere to put them,” explained Livonia Police Chief Landon Landry.
It all started Sunday around midnight in the quiet town of Livonia when police spotted a car speeding.
“[The] vehicle fled in excess of 120 miles per hour, westbound on 190,” he said.
The car continued driving for 36 miles and wouldn't stop until police flattened the tires.
“The vehicle was spiked in Port Barre, and the vehicle continued to drive on the flat tires and rims all the way into Opelousas where, ironically, right in front of the courthouse and detention center is where the pursuit ended,” Landry said.
Three people were in the car. One ran from police, but the two who stayed behind surprised officers.
“The two individuals left in the vehicle subsequently, they were both juveniles," Landry said.
Police discovered another crime committed by the teens hours before the chase.
“The vehicle was in the process of being released into NCIC as stolen during the pursuit,” the chief said.
But due to lack of space at any of the nearby juvenile detention centers, police could not hold the two teens.
“In the end, we get to complete the process by putting them in jail. But when you don't get to do that, when you do not get to finish that process and at least put them somewhere in a juvenile's case, that is discouraging,” Landry explained.
Both juveniles' parents refused to pick them up from Opelousas. Instead, the teen driver had family in the area who acted as a guardian.
“In essence, we have to watch the smirk on his face as he walks away with his guardian, and we just released him on three felonies,” Landry said.
The teens are also suspected to have been involved in at least three other violent crimes in New Orleans, including an armed robbery.
Police said they never found the third person who fled the scene.