EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – A 14-year-old suspected of stealing a car from a Wood River dealership died early Tuesday morning after crashing into a draining canal near Westway and Gateway Commerce Drives in Edwardsville. Authorities identified the teen as Harry Linnen Jr. of Jennings.
Several vehicles were stolen from Federico Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in Wood River around 1 a.m. A second suspect crashed and was treated at an area hospital. Four cars were stolen in all.
Investigators were also looking into a possibility the theft were connected to a carjacking in the St. Louis area.
“We received information that several vehicles were seen pulling away from the lot at a high rate of speed,” said Wood River Police Chief Brad Wells.
An officer who saw Linnen crash jumped into the water to try to save him. A dive team later recovered Linnen’s body.
James Clark, the vice president of public safety and community response for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, has continually called for more resources in what he calls challenged neighborhoods. He said the Urban League is in the process of beefing up a federation of block units aimed at strengthening neighborhoods and giving youth help they need before they turn to crime.
“We can get the families the support that they need to help the young people, so we can begin to stop some of these tragedies that are becoming way to common,” said Clark.
He said some St. Louis area neighborhoods are in desperate need of attention.
“There was a time when we could say it’s a family problem; now it’s a neighborhood problem that has now become a societal problem,” said Clark.
Linnen’s grandmother told FOX 2, “He was good kid but things happen.”