By Walt Hunter
BENSALEM (CBS) — Only CBS 3 cameras were there as a 17-year-old suspect was arrested by SEPTA police detectives and charged with driving an SUV onto the tracks of SEPTA’s West Trenton Regional Rail line, where it was rammed by a train filled with scores of rush-hour riders.
The teen never dialed 911 to warn about the hazard.
The suspect, who CBS 3 is not identifying because he is a juvenile, surrendered with his father and is being charged with risking a catastrophe and other crimes.
“This could have been catastrophic,” commented SEPTA Police Chief Tom Nestel.
The Chief explained the 17-year-old did not intentionally try to cause the crash, was, in the chief’s words, “having fun” driving the vehicle around a steep wooded area that’s frequented by trespassing unauthorized ATV riders.
Nestel says that when the teenage driver tried to cross the tracks, the SUV got stuck. But instead of notifying officials, the suspect allegedly took off.
Chief Nestel also pointed out the driver had a suspended learner’s permit and no right to be behind the wheel at all.
SEPTA detective William Saunders was credited with cracking the case after finding the suspect’s cell phone near the accident scene the next morning and tracking him down through it.
The SUV’s license tag had proven useless because Saunders says the car was not properly registered.
The suspect was arraigned in Juvenile Court on Monday afternoon.