Teen involved in serious crash to be tried as an adult

He's not even old enough to drive, let alone drink alcohol, but now a 14-year-old boy is facing adult consequences for drinking and driving.

Police say the teen caused a serious crash that injured four people, including a 3-year-old girl who remains in critical condition.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office says they plan to try the teenager as an adult.

It's really a tragedy for two families, one family with a little girl fighting for her life in the hospital, and the other of a 14-year-old boy that could potentially spend a large portion of his life locked up behind bars.

Phoenix Police say 14-year-old Miguel Maldonado was drunk when he got behind the wheel and caused the horrific crash Monday night.

A 3-year-old girl and her parents were going through the intersection at 67th Avenue and Van Buren when Maldonado allegedly ran a red light slamming into their car.

Police say he showed several signs of being drunk and blew a BAC of .109 at the scene. Now, prosecutors want to try the teenager as an adult. It's a move that surprised many local attorneys. 

"Is it warranted under the facts of the case, and what is allowed under the law? Absolutely. Is it surprising? Yes, when you look at a 14-year-old do they really understand the gravity of their actions," said Monica Lindstrom.

Maldonado is now facing four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon because the crash injured four people. The little girl, two adults in the car with her, and Maldonado's passenger. There would be a huge difference in the punishment if he were tried as an adult instead of in juvenile court.

"He's looking at a punishment of roughly four years, because juvenile court loses jurisdiction at the age of 18, as an adult he's looking at significantly more than that, because there are four victims and the fact he was intoxicated at the time," said legal analyst Monica Lindstrom.

Some attorneys believe Maldonado could have a better chance at changing his life around if he were tried as an adult.

"Juvenile court could be very helpful, so they don't go down the path of a lifetime criminal, there's a chance if he continues to be charged and sentenced in adult court, now he goes into the prison system, now he's going to be educated and raised by the criminals around him in prison," said Lindstrom.

If the little girl does not survive the crash, Maldonado could end up facing manslaughter charges in addition to the felony aggravated assault charges.

At any time, prosecutors could change their minds and decide to try Maldonado in juvenile court instead.

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