Public Safety

17-year-old accused of stealing car, leading police on high-speed chase will be charged as adult

He was charged last year with robbery but was waived into juvenile court

Cedar Rapids squad cars. (file photo)
Cedar Rapids squad cars. (file photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A 17-year-old sent from adult court back to juvenile court on a robbery charge last year was charged Monday for leading police on a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle.

Muzuri K. Yenge of Cedar Rapids was first charged in juvenile court last month but was waived to Linn County District Court and charged with first-degree theft, attempt to elude, interference with official acts and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to a criminal complaint, police on Nov. 24 saw Yenge driving a stolen 2014 Chevy Cruze valued at $12,000. He refused to stop and led police on a chase. It began on Covington Road and then Yenge went south on F Avenue, where he reached 70 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Yenge eventually stopped in a residential area and fled the stolen vehicle with his passenger, according to the complaint. The two were found hiding in a backyard of a house and were taken into custody. Officers saw a drug pipe on the center console of the vehicle.

The teen initially refused to identify himself and claimed to have an injured knee and requested medical attention. He was taken to a hospital, where he refused to get out of the patrol car or talk with medical staff.

The complaint states he was taken to jail and was identified by a previous arrest photo.

If convicted on the theft and eluding charges, Yenge faces up to 15 years in prison.

Last November, a judge waived Yenge’s charge of first-degree robbery back to juvenile court because Yenge agreed to plead to the robbery in juvenile court and he would be placed at the Iowa State Training School for Boys, according to court documents.

In that offense, a 13-year-old girl told police Yenge and another person robbed her of her cellphone at knifepoint in the 1300 block of Hinkley Avenue NW and then fled in a vehicle, according to a complaint. Officers found the vehicle a short time later, but Yenge got out and ran when an officer approached it.

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Yenge was taken into custody after a short foot chase, and the cellphone was recovered. Police also found a knife in Yenge’s vehicle they think was used in the robbery.

Last December, First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks asked a judge to rescind the order and keep Yenge in district court because he refused to admit to the charge.

The order wasn’t rescinded and Yenge remained in juvenile court, according to limited court records that are public because most juvenile court petitions are confidential. There is no information about whether Yenge was sent to the training school.

Being waived to adult court on this charge indicates no further rehabilitation is available for Yenge in juvenile court, since he will turn 18 in January.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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