According to the Cass County Sheriff's Department, the 14-year-old boy was speeding along a snow-slicked road at about 2 a.m. Tuesday in Milton Township when he lost control of the car and struck a tree. Passenger Adrian M. Chiquito of Niles died in the crash.
"They weren't drinking, or they didn't use drugs," Adrian's father Kevin Waldrop said. "They didn't do anything bad. They were just regular teenagers who made a stupid decision."
The Sheriff's Department said both boys were wearing seat belts and emergency crews took the 14-year-old driver from the scene near Niles, just north of the Indiana state line, to Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Ind. He was listed in stable but critical condition Thursday morning.
The boys took a relative's car. Waldrop and his wife said they went to bed in the basement while the boys stayed upstairs playing videogames. They said they didn't know the boys had left the house until Cass County deputies banged on the door.
Waldrop recalled that his wife ran into a bedroom to look for the boys.
"The kids were gone, and the blankets were stuffed with pillows, and she just knew," he said. "They took the car while we were sleeping."
After the crash, people living nearby rushed out to help the boys. They said the car was nearly split in half by the force of the crash.
"It's a real shame, such young boys, such tragedy," neighbor Cathy Thibodeaux said.