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HOPKINTON — Four juveniles under the care of the state Department of Children, Youth and Families have been returned to the custody of the state after they were involved in a two-town car chase that ended when the 17-year-old driver crashed into a guardrail at the end of Townhouse Road.

Hopkinton Police Capt. Mark Carrier said the incident, which occurred just after midnight on Thursday morning, led to charges for two of the juveniles, a 17-year-old boy who was driving and 15-year-old girl and front seat passenger who was in possession of a .25 caliber handgun when the juveniles were later found and identified.

The 17-year-old is facing charges of reckless driving, driving without a license and resisting arrest, while the 15-year-old has been charged with possession of a firearm by a minor and felony failure to permit to carry a firearm. The 15-year-old also had a warrant for her arrest, the police said.

Two others, an 18-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl, were also taken into custody as escaped juveniles, but are not facing criminal charges in the matter. The name of the 18-year-old, who was previously ordered into state custody until he turns 19, was not released.

"All four were listed in the (National Crime Information Center) database as runaways from state custody. There are no charges in such instances, but police do have a responsibility of holding them and turning them back over into state custody, which is what our department did," Carrier said.

According to police, the four juveniles were found and detained following a series of events that began when Richmond police came upon a Toyota Camry in a business parking lot that matched the description of a car reported to be driving erratically earlier in the evening. The Richmond patrol officer attempted to stop the car, which did not have appropriate license plates, but the car took off west along Route 3 at a high rate of speed.

Officers notified surrounding agencies of the incident, and a Hopkinton patrol officer saw the car pass along Main Street. He began to follow the Camry, but slowed when the car turned suddenly onto Townhouse Road.

The police said the car then drove head-on into a guard rail at the end of the dead end road — the officer was no longer in full pursuit — and all four ran from the car and scattered in the neighborhood on foot. The car itself erupted into flames and was fully engulfed before members of the Ashaway Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire.

No serious injuries were reported in either the crash or response.

Carrier said officers conducted a K-9 search of the area and were eventually able to bring all four juveniles into custody.

The investigation revealed that the four juveniles were all from the greater Providence and knew each other prior to the escape. It was unclear whether they were staying at the same state home when they ran away.

Although it was initially thought to involve a stolen car, the police said officers were able to trace use of the Camry to the driver, who had requested use from a Providence-based friend. The police said the car had been sold several times since it was last registered, leading to the confusion.

Both of the juveniles arrested will face charges before a judge in Rhode Island Family Court, the police said, and the cases are being treated as juvenile matters.

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