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When he was just 14, records show, he was in and out of juvenile court and was convicted for grand theft auto and petty theft.
Tuesday, the 16-year-old from central Toledo was the backseat passenger in a stolen, speeding auto that slammed into a utility pole, splitting the vehicle into several pieces that scattered across two city blocks in the Old South End. He was the lone survivor among the three in the car.
The Jones youth was thrown 100 feet from the vehicle and was critically injured.
Two young men in the front seat were killed. They were identified only by their fingerprints and tattoos after the impact tossed them several feet and face down onto the pavement on Broadway near Field Avenue.
Witness Juanita Kneisley, 24, of Boalt Street, found her way onto the scene after she heard the screech of tires before 3 a.m. in her home a block away. She said she was horrified as she watched the impact, which she said sent the front, back, and middle sections of the vehicle “skipping across Broadway.”
“The images are stuck in my head,” Ms. Kneisley said.
The middle section wrapped around a metal street-light pole at Field, near where the two bodies were found, one in the street and the other at the curb. The back and front sections continued down the block to Walbridge Avenue, where the survivor was found in the street, police said.
Ms. Kneisley stood back as a friend rushed to comfort the Jones youth, who suffered two broken legs.
Markeon Antonious Chaney, 19, and Gregory Williams, 19, both of central Toledo, were dead at the scene.
The families of the victims declined or did not respond to requests for comment.
It was initially unclear which of the deceased was driving the vehicle, and none of the victims carried any form of identification, police said.
Mr. Chaney was identified through fingerprints, and Mr. Williams was identified by photos of tattoos that were shown to his family, Steve Kahle, a Lucas County coroner's investigator, said. Autopsies are planned for Wednesday.
A man who identified himself as a family friend when he answered the door at the Jones residence said the youth was in surgery Tuesday and likely would face amputation of one or both of his legs.
He was listed in critical condition Tuesday night in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, a hospital spokesman said.
The wrecked car was reportedly stolen Monday between 6 and 10 p.m. from Aladdin's Eatery, 4038 Talmadge Rd.
The owner of the stolen vehicle, Maryam Farhat, 25, is a University of Toledo accounting student who works part time as a dishwasher at the restaurant. She said she initially thought a friend was playing a joke when she noticed the vehicle was missing from behind the eatery after she finished her shift late Monday.
She said she didn't know why someone would want to steal the older vehicle she's driven for about a year, a Honda Accord with more than 220,000 miles.
“There were a lot of cars next to [mine] that were better,” she told The Blade.
Her sister called her about 4:30 a.m. when she recognized the vehicle during television reports about the accident in South Toledo.
“It was a shock,” Ms. Farhat said.
The vehicle was traveling between 80 and 100 miles per hour at the time of the crash, investigators have estimated, although it was unknown why the vehicle was traveling so fast. It probably will take accident investigators until Friday to determine the speed at the time of the crash, Toledo Police Traffic Lt. Jeff Sulewski said.
The accident is among the worst in his 25 years with the department.
“I haven't seen anything like it before,” Lieutenant Sulewski said. “I've seen some pretty violent accidents.”
Police said they believe the teenagers were taking a joy ride at the time.
A small crowd of onlookers watched police work at the crash scene Tuesday.
Frank Lesinszki, 50, one of those who called 911, said he was sleeping and had just rolled over when he heard “Boom!”
“I looked out of the window and saw what looked like a garbage can to me, right in the street. Then I looked again and went, ‘Gosh! That's a car!'” Mr. Lesinszki said.
All of those in the wrecked vehicle had criminal backgrounds that started at age 14, Lucas County Juvenile Court Administrator Dan Pompa said.
The Jones youth appeared consistently in juvenile court throughout 2008, until he reportedly moved to Nevada to live with a relative, Mr. Pompa said.
He was found delinquent in relation to misdemeanor auto theft and misdemeanor vehicle trespass — a charge which had been reduced from grand theft auto in April, 2008, Mr. Pompa said.
He was delinquent on another grand theft auto charge and petty theft in May, 2008.
He was delinquent of disorderly conduct and criminal trespass in January, 2008, delinquent of petty theft in February, and delinquent of criminal trespass and unauthorized use of property in March.
More than a dozen other various charges against the Jones youth were dismissed between January and August, 2008, including assault, drug possession, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, criminal damage, and criminal trespass.
He faces a criminal damage charge, for which he was scheduled to appear Thursday in Lucas County Juvenile Court, Mr. Pompa said.
Mr. Chaney was arrested July 16 after pulling a shotgun out of the waistband of his sweatpants and pointing it at a man at 1710 Calumet Ave., court records show. Witnesses tackled him and detained him until police arrived.
He was convicted of violating a protection order and possession of weapons in a public place and was released from Lucas County jail on probation Aug. 5. He was to appear next month for sentencing on the protection order violation before Toledo Municipal Court Judge Amy Berling.
The other man killed Tuesday, Mr. Williams, was found delinquent in connection with obstruction of official business in September, 2006.