Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, police address the string of fatal car crashes involving teens in stolen cars

HARTFORD --  There have been a string of deadly car crashes in Hartford recently and most of them involve teens in stolen cars.

There have been so many, the problem has gotten the attention of not only police, but city and state leaders as well.

Many of these crashes have killed several innocent lives. Hartford Police said they are working on ways to help teens turn their attention away from crime and also enforce stricter punishment.

“Are there ways that we can work together to address what is a common regional problem?” said Mayor Luke Bronin of Hartford.

That is the question the mayor is asking officials in the entire state. He is hoping a team effort with other cities or towns will help combat this deadly trend.

“This is a problem that we are trying to address aggressively here in Hartford, but we also want to make sure we’re working together as a region and with our state partners to do everything we can,” added Mayor Bronin.

Police said they find themselves responding to fatal car crashes almost every week only to find out the person responsible is a teen in a stolen car from another town.

Deputy Chief Brian Foley believes this keeps happening because the teens know nothing will happen to them.

“Look, the kids know there’s no punishment out there. That’s the bottom line. There’s no punishment for them. We refer someone for a stolen car and they get referred to juvenile court and that’s pretty much the end of it,” added Foley.

The most recent crash was on Tuesday morning near Trinity College where police said three teens stole a car with the keys still inside at the time.

On January 25th, the community mourned the loss of Deirdre Gray, a mother who was involved in a scary multi-car crash on Westland Street. Not only was the man responsible in a stolen car, but he also had a lengthy criminal record.

Over the summer, there was another incident on Sigourney Street where it left a woman without her legs and she later died.

“It’s impacting everyone in this region. It’s not just a Hartford problem. It’s centered around our city. It is all teenagers,” added Foley.

FOX61 reached out to Anthony Barrett with the YMCA in Hartford to get some perspective on why teens and young adults repeatedly turn to crime.

“I think some of it is just looking for validation and a thrill. Unfortunately, sometimes pop culture expose some of these things you see. They see Fast and the Furious thinking this is like the movies but the reality is that this is real life,” said Barrett.

Barrett also said police and youth mentors in the city can help those teens become more involved in a community in a more positive way.

“We also need to make sure we’re responding to this trend in a way that’s helping save these kids’ lives and save other people’s lives,” added Mayor Bronin.

Police also noted many of these stolen cars start from people not locking their cars in the first place. They are strongly reminding everyone to lock their cars to prevent a more serious crime from happening.