Carjacked SUV rams girl driver

Late night snacks are rarely this dangerous.

A 13-year-old girl who had unlawfully driven her mother’s car to a McDonald’s restaurant at 1 a.m. Monday was rear-ended by a man driving a stolen Hummer on Nellis Boulevard near Bonanza Road, authorities said.

Before the man slammed into the girl, he was involved in a high-speed chase with Henderson police, authorities said. Police chased him and a 16-year-old boy after the pair carjacked the Hummer from a woman at a Henderson casino, police said.

The girl, who wasn’t identified, was rushed to University Medical Center with critical injuries after the accident. The hospital upgraded her condition to fair Monday afternoon, according to Las Vegas police.

Authorities arrested the man they say was driving the stolen Hummer, 26-year-old Juan Lopez of Henderson, and booked him into the Henderson jail on multiple charges, including robbery with a deadly weapon, felony evading and reckless driving.

Police also arrested Lopez’s 16-year-old passenger and booked him into the county’s juvenile jail on charges of robbery and possession of a stolen vehicle.

The incident started at about 12:50 a.m. when Lopez, reportedly armed with a shotgun, carjacked a woman who was in a 2006 Hummer2 at Charlie Holder’s Casino on Boulder Highway near College Drive, authorities said. The woman wasn’t injured in the robbery.

Lopez and the 16-year-old then drove from the casino in the Hummer.

Police haven’t recovered the shotgun allegedly used in the robbery, Paul said.

Two Henderson police cruisers caught up with Lopez at Lake Mead Boulevard and Van Wagenen Street, about two miles from Charlie Holder’s Casino, and tried to pull him over.

The officers began to chase the Hummer after it wouldn’t stop and at some point the three vehicles got onto U.S. Highway 95 and headed north. Paul said the Hummer gained speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.

The Hummer got off the highway and went north on Nellis while the two Henderson police cruisers followed it, authorities said.

Henderson police are allowed to pursue suspects in high-speed chases if a felony has been committed, according to police policy. Law enforcement agencies say they recognize that high-speed chases are dangerous and shouldn’t be used if there is a danger to the public, however.

Paul said the Henderson officers stopped pursuing the suspects at high speeds after a Metropolitan Police Department helicopter began following the Hummer. It remained unclear when and where the high-speed ground pursuit ended.

While the Hummer was speeding north on Nellis, a 13-year-old girl who was driving her mother’s 2007 Hyundai Elantra pulled away from the 24-hour drive-through window at a McDonald’s on Nellis just north of Bonanza, Las Vegas police said.

A McDonald’s employee who was running the drive-through window early Monday morning, who identified herself only as Claudia, said she remembered seeing the 13-year-old. But she said the girl looked much older than 13.

Police believe the girl took her mother’s car without permission.

Claudia watched as the Hyundai left the restaurant and went onto Nellis. She and authorities said the Hummer struck the Hyundai just as it entered into the traffic lane at 1:04 a.m., injuring the 13-year-old.

The two Henderson police cruisers were about 400 yards from the Hummer when it struck the Hyundai, Paul said.

Lopez, who received minor injuries, ran from the accident scene, but authorities took him into custody near the McDonald’s, police said. Authorities also treated the 16-year-old for minor injuries before booking him into the juvenile jail.

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