Boy, 9, crashes Grandma’s car into yards, tree

Paul Popish, right, examines the damage to his willow tree in the front yard of his home, 470 Ananessa Drive.

A 9-year-old boy drove his grandmother’s car into a tree in a Clifton neighborhood Saturday, injuring himself but no one else.

Police and witnesses to the incident said the boy, whose identity was not released, said the boy was coming from his home on nearby Meadow Lane, sped down the 3100 block of Chipeta Avenue and skidded in a drainage dip full of water at the intersection of Ananessa Drive.

He then careened the XG350 Hyundai he was driving into the front yard of a home at the intersection of those two roads, cutting tire tracks into the yard’s landscaping and narrowly missing a mailbox and vehicle parked in the driveway.

The car then crashed into a willow tree at 470 Ananessa Drive, also narrowly missing a nearby fence and other vehicles, said Valore Samuel, one of several witnesses to the incident.

“It was amazing that nothing was hit, nobody was hurt, no houses were hit,” she said. “Even that fence wasn’t damaged, and look at all the damage to that vehicle. It’s crazy.”

Samuel and a friend were getting into their car parked on Chipeta Avenue when the boy drove past them at a high rate of speed.

The two then raced over to where he hit the tree, arriving just in time to see the boy run off. One of the women drove after him and brought him back.

An ambulance later took him to St. Mary’s Hospital.

Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Mike Barker said charges likely won’t be filed against the boy because state law forbids that, but said charges may be filed against “someone else,” saying county child welfare services may become involved.

The boy told witnesses his grandmother lets him take the car for a test drive every now and then.

“We’re just investigating the crash, and right now no charges have been filed,” Barker said. “An investigation’s ongoing. Whether charges are filed against anybody related to this crash, it’s possible, but not definitive yet until our troopers investigate all the circumstances. It’s not just the child that we’re looking at.”

Meanwhile, Paul Popish, the owner of the willow tree the boy ran into, is worried the tree may not remain standing.

He said the tree has had it’s share of bad luck in recent years.

First, it almost died as a result of the recent hot, dry weather, then it was attacked by bore worms, Popish said.

Now, thanks to the crash, it has a potentially fatal crack at its base, he said.

Staff photographer Gretel Daugherty contributed to this report.


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