Teen in handcuffs allegedly steals police cruiser, crashes into home

Teen in handcuffs allegedly steals police cruiser, crashes into home

JACKSONVILLE - A teenager, being arrested for an alleged larceny, managed to steal the police cruiser he was in, and crashed the vehicle into a home., investigators said.

Police responded to a home larceny call at about 8:35 a.m. Wednesday, on 801 Welton Circle in Jacksonville. When the officer arrived, he arrested 17-year-old Thomas Gibson, who lived at the home, and placed him in the back seat of the police cruiser, said Beth Purcell, spokesperson for the Jacksonville Police Department.

But Gibson, while in handcuffs, allegedly managed to climb to the front seat of the police car, kicked the vehicle into gear and struck the arresting officer, Matthew Summerlin. The officer was waiting for traffic to pass before entering his cruiser, when the assault happened, Purcell said.

Gibson drove a short distance before losing control of the police cruiser and crashing into a home on  1000 Pine Valley Road, Purcell said.  Gibson allegedly tried to run away, but police caught him.

A person inside the Pine Valley Road home was injured in the crash and was trapped under debris, Purcell said. Through social media, NewsChannel 12 confirmed that the person hurt, Sandra Wilson, was being treated at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where she was listed in fair condition.

Officer Summerlin was taken to Onslow Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released, according to a nursing supervisor.

Gibson was placed in the Onslow County Jail under a $345,000 bond. His charges include:

  1. first-degree attempted murder
  2. assault with a deadly weapon on law enforcement officer (2 counts)
  3. larceny of motor vehicle,
  4. larceny of firearm
  5. resist, obstruct, delay
  6. assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious bodily harm
  7. felony hit and run (2 counts)
  8. fleeing to elude
  9. possession of stolen vehicle
  10. injury to real property
  11. felony larceny

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