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Joyride sends 5 male minors to hospital

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Five male minors were taken to the hospital this morning after sustaining injuries in a single car crash. Police are now investigating what they've classified as "a recreational crash". 

"What we have is a Toyota Tundra who decided to go off the roadway...they decided to go on the grassy area while on the grassy area, they lost control and struck a concrete pole," explained Sergeant Mike Aguon with the Guam Police Department's Highway Patrol Division. He and traffic investigators believe the six male minors were skipping school and decided to go off-roading along Route 3. But their joyride ended abruptly when the 16-year-old driver of the pickup truck lost control and slammed into a concrete utility pole. 

Five boys were inside the cab while one was riding in the bed of the pickup. The impact of the collision resulted in the back passenger being thrown several feet from the truck. Investigators were picking up pieces of the truck from the grassy area.

"When you're on the road, the roads are made for traction. When you're off the road, like with...grass, there's no traction so it's like running on wet water, the grass is still wet. Grass soaks up water. When you start running on it, you can lose control," Aguon continued. "It's apparent that he lost control and struck the concrete utility pole."

Guam Memorial Hospital spokesperson Connor Murphy says two 17-year-old boys are listed in critical condition at the hospital. One of those is the teen who was thrown from the back of the pickup's bed.  The other was sitting behind the driver but received the brunt of the impact of the collision with the concrete pole. Two other teens were being evaluated at the GMH emergency room, while one other boy was taken to Naval Hospital in Agana Heights for minor injuries.

"Just like everything else, we're looking at speed and alcohol, if any, was involved," continued Aguon. "We don't know any of that right now we're just at the preliminary stage."

The crash is a stark reminder to the public of the dangers of riding in the bed of a truck.  While GPD has advocated against any passengers in the back of pickups, Guam law allows up to five people who are 12 years of age or older to sit in the back, as long as they do not lean or sit at the tailgate.

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