A Greenwich man and a village teenager are accused of taking a joy ride in a stolen car and returning the damaged vehicle to the owner’s property.
William L. Steward, 23, of 40 W. Main St., is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and driving with a suspended license. Charges are pending against the other occupant, a 15-year-old Greenwich boy, involved in the crash, which was investigated by Trooper Eddie Lopez, of the state Highway Patrol.
The suspected hit-skip crash happened at 8 p.m. Thursday on Rome Greenwich Road near Baseline Road. The accident involved a red 2009 Dodge Avenger. Police said the owner of the car — an East Main Street, Greenwich, resident — reported he discovered the Avenger had been taken without permission and was returned “damaged from a crash.”
Early in the investigation, Lopez notified the Greenwich Police Department. Officer Ken Lemmeyer then contacted the car owner and interviewed Steward and the boy.
Steward, who initially denied taking the car, said the boy reportedly gave him permission to use the car, Chief Steve Dorsey said.
“The parents weren’t home,” Dorsey added.
After the crash, Steward drove the Avenger back to the man’s home “and left it like nothing happened,” Dorsey said.
“William claimed (the boy) was the driver at the time of the crash and (the boy) claimed William was the driver at the time of the crash,” according to the patrol’s report. “William claimed he and (the boy) changed drivers just outside of the town.”
Police said they obtained video surveillance that shows Steward was driving the car while in a drive-thru at a Greenwich business.
Just before the crash, Steward was northbound on Rome Greenwich Road. Troopers said he lost control when he failed to negotiate a right-hand curve and went off the right side of the road.
The car overturned in a field. Troopers said Steward then drove through the field, returned to Rome Greenwich Road and fled the scene.