NewsLocal News


Teen charged for stealing Lyft driver's vehicle, crashing through car lot: Complaint

car lot crash
Posted at 11:07 AM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 14:10:24-05

MILWAUKEE — A 17-year-old Milwaukee teen was charged after prosecutors say he stole a Lyft driver's Jeep, drove through a high school's lawn and crashed it through a used car lot last week. Police say the suspect had been armed with his mother's firearm during the incident, which involved three separate police pursuits.

As the stolen vehicle crashed into the car lot, a female in the vehicle was ejected, and she remains in the hospital with injuries.

Ryan BS Tate Jr., 17 years old, was charged with armed robbery, fleeing or eluding an officer, second degree recklessly endangering safety, first degree reckless injury, first degree recklessly endangering safety and possession of a dangerous weapon, among a total of 9 charges, according to a criminal complaint released Monday.

The complaint states officers were called to Milwaukee Marshall High School last Tuesday for an armed robbery.

The victim of the robbery told officers she worked for Lyft as a driver and that a person named Ryan had called for a ride.

When they arrived at his destination, the high school, Ryan pulled out a gun and pointed it at the driver, the complaint states. He allegedly told her to get out of the car and she then ran to the school.

Some time later police spotted the stolen Jeep. As a squad car approached the stolen vehicle, the driver started to drive off. Police pursued, the complaint states.

The pursuit lasted over 10 miles and involved the suspect driving into incoming traffic, through a gas station lot and then back onto the lawn and sidewalk of Marshall High School, prosecutors say. Police eventually ended their pursuit, citing public safety.

The school safety officer recognized the driver of the stolen vehicle as the defendant.

The next day investigating officers spotted the stolen Jeep again and resumed the pursuit. The driver of the Jeep drove away at speeds of 90 miles per hour, according to the complaint. Police once again ended their pursuit.

But the chase picked up once again about 1 hour later and continued throughout the city, endangering the safety of others, the complaint states.

When the suspect crossed West Villard and disregarded a red traffic light, it collided with another vehicle, causing the stolen Jeep to flip sideways and then strike several parked vehicles at Hart Auto.

Police say the suspect surrendered at the scene of the crash, and had a firearm on him. One of the female passengers had been ejected from the vehicle and remains in the hospital with injuries. Another female passenger surrendered at the scene of the crash.

The suspect told investigators during an interview that the firearm he had belonged to his mother.

Cash bond was set at $30,000 for Tate.

Perspective of the Lyft driver

The owner of the vehicle that police say the teen stole is speaking out.

"This is not funny, what is wrong with these young people?" asked Pamela Watkins.

Pamela Watkins had only been a Lyft driver for a couple of months when she picked up a teen who requested to be dropped off at Marshall High School.

"He was very engaged, very polite, so I didn't think anything of it," said Watkins.

But as soon as Watkins arrived at the school...

"He pulled his right hand out of his jacket with a gun and he said 'ma'am you're going to have to get out of your truck,'" said Watkins.

Watkins grabbed her phone and her purse and took off. The next day, she saw a Facebook live of young people on a chase with police. She says the teens were inside her stolen car.

"I'm like, they are really enjoying my truck, they think this is a joke because they are on a high-speed chase," said Watkins.

Video shows the aftermath of that chase when police say the driver blew through a red light and crashed into several other cars.

"I was in so much disbelief I couldn't even get my thoughts together. I'm hearing people in that area say the young girl was ejected from my back window," said Watkins.

The 17-year-old was arrested and taken to a local hospital along with two girls inside the stolen vehicle. Now, Watkins is seeking justice, and has a message for the teens:

"It's not a video game, this is real life. And you may not live to tell the story. Or you may not even live to go back home to your family," said Watkins.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip