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Underage driver crashes stolen car, 12-year-old passenger dies

A 12-year-old boy died after a crash in a stolen vehicle driven by a 15-year-old boy in unincorporated Santa Cruz County early Friday morning, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The 15-year-old boy was driving a 2014 Toyota Prius, which was stolen but unreported, when he veered off a steep embankment on southbound Soquel San Jose Road near Laurel Glen Road at 5 a.m., according to the CHP. The victim was in the passenger seat and died at the scene after the car hit a tree and overturned. The Santa Cruz County coroner’s office will identify the boy once his family is contacted.

The driver was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center with moderate injuries. The CHP doesn’t know the reason for the crash, but said it may have been caused by distracted driving.

Officer Julieta Trenado said the collision is still under investigation, and officers are trying to determine whether the driver or the passenger is responsible for stealing the car.

The driver may face legal consequences because he didn’t have a license, but the boy was not arrested at the scene.

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