MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee Police Department is investigating a fatal motor vehicle crash that happened at about 1:30 a.m. in the 3300 block of W. Capitol on Thursday, January 16th -- and FOX6 News has learned the crash involved a stolen vehicle.
According to police, a 16-year-old male from Milwaukee was killed when the Jeep Liberty SUV that he was riding in left the roadway and struck a tree in the median.
The SUV then continued eastbound before coming to rest against a light pole.
Police continue to investigate whether the deceased was driving the SUV at the time of the crash and whether there were other occupants who fled the scene.
The SUV had been reported stolen on January 14th.
Friends identify the teen killed as 16-year-old Darrien Thomas.
"We kinda taking it hard. We wanna see what go wrong. We kinda said a prayer for him, so..." Thomas' friend, Ulandas Turner said.
FOX6 News spoke with the owner of the SUV, who didn't want to show his face on camera or be identified. However, he says it was his Jeep that was taken from his driveway in the neighborhood of Fairmount and 51st Boulevard.
The man says he turned on the SUV to warm it up and went inside, and then believes some teens, including Thomas, took it for a joy ride.
"It breaks my heart that this little kid is dead. I don't give a damn about the truck," the Jeep's owner said.
"They young and running wild. You gotta get time to mature. You gotta mature -- and I'm sorry he won't have that chance," Turner said.
Thomas' family believes the teen was a passenger in the car and not the driver. Police continue to investigate what happened in this case.