MILWAUKEE — It has become an all-too-common and deadly mix in Milwaukee: a stolen vehicle, reckless driving and kids as young as 12 years old.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the 16-year-old boy who died in a horrific crash Tuesday night as Damantae Hambright. Five other young people were injured.
It happened just before 9 p.m. on North 76th Street, near Good Hope Road.
According to the Milwaukee Police Department, officers noticed a stolen Kia Sportage on Good Hope Road and attempted to pull it over. Rather than stopping, the 16-year-old driver, Damantae Hambright, took off. A police chase ensued.
Investigators say Hambright started driving the wrong way - into oncoming traffic- on 76th Street, ultimately crashing head-on into another car (an Infiniti M35).
The occupants of that car - two 18-year-olds and a 19-year-old - all suffered life-threatening injuries, but are stable at Froedtert Hospital.
Two 12-year-old girls who were in the stolen car with Hambright sustained very serious injuries. One is still in critical condition, the other is stable.
Police say none of the occupants in the stolen vehicle were wearing seatbelts.
Hambright’s mother, Pairresh Bond, sent TMJ4 a statement that reads in part, “my only son was a 16-year-old black male in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who made the wrong decision, and who hasn’t at that age? He didn’t deserve to pay with his life. I feel terrible about the whole incident and send my prayers to all involved.”
Bond goes on to say Hambright “was the man of the house, who wanted to be a man of his own... my heart and my faith won’t let me believe my son was out here stealing cars. I know how I raised him. I’ve been working and supporting him and his sister. I’m utterly disgusted with the whole situation.”
People like Ann Patz, who live and work near 76th and Good Hope, feel for the families of everyone involved, but are fed up with the reckless driving.
“I see it every day,” Patz said. “I’ve experienced it too, in an accident I was involved in. It’s a huge problem in Milwaukee. Young people and adults seem to have no fear for their lives. This should serve as a wake-up call for parents to talk to your teens. They need to think about the consequences of their decisions, and their reckless driving. They can hurt themselves and others. If you’re being pursued by police, you should be stopping.”