Wisconsin teenager's body discovered in car that was towed days after crash. Incident resembles others in recent years.
By Drake Bentley, USA TODAY NETWORK,2023-06-08
MILWAUKEE — The body of a Wisconsin teenager was found inside a vehicle at a tow lot this week, four days after the vehicle was severely damaged in a crash, authorities said.
The 17-year-old Milwaukee boy was found dead in the back of an SUV, Milwaukee police said Monday . The SUV, which was suspected to be stolen, was towed on June 1 following a crash into a tree that left a 16-year-old boy injured.
The 16-year-old sustained non-fatal injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment, according to Milwaukee police. He was then arrested.
The cause of death for the 17-year-old is being investigated by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office. The Milwaukee Police Department and the city's Department of Public Works will both conduct inquiries into these circumstances, police said.
The incident marks the third time since 2018 that city personnel left someone behind in a car that was eventually towed.
'Y'ALL JUST LEFT MY BABY WITH ANYBODY': How a dozen city workers missed a 4-year-old child in a towed minivan
Body found in back of car
Around 10:54 a.m. on Monday, Milwaukee police responded to a call for service from the city-owned tow lot. Upon arrival, officers observed a body located on the floor of the rear portion of the SUV, police said.
The SUV was "severely damaged and MPD arranged for the vehicle to be towed" after it was involved in an accident on June 1, police said. The driver of the vehicle, according to police, was a 16-year-old boy who was found "a short distance away" from the crashed vehicle.
The body that was found four days later is believed to be a 17-year-old from Milwaukee, police said.
Nobody's work status at the police department has changed as a result of the discovery as of Tuesday, a spokesperson said. The Department of Public Works declined to answer the same question.
Incident resembles others in recent years
In January 2018, a 4-year-old girl was left inside her family's van for about eight hours in freezing temperatures after police arrested her mother on suspicion of drunk driving and towed the vehicle.
At least 10 Milwaukee employees were involved in the process of towing the vehicle, including police and public works departments. But no one saw the girl, who was out of view in the back of the van while searching the vehicle.
She was found unharmed the next morning by a tow lot attendant who heard her crying.
The city settled a lawsuit over the matter and paid the family $50,000 in December 2022 and two police officers were suspended for a combined total of 45 days . No other city employees were disciplined and no criminal charges were filed.
In January 2022, emergency personnel responded to the scene of a car that crashed into a building, starting a fire. The car was eventually towed with the body of a 21-year-old woman in a back seat that went unnoticed for several hours.
Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski publicly apologized for the incident and announced changes to the department’s standard operating procedures after a monthlong investigation.
Contributing: Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: Wisconsin teenager's body discovered in car that was towed days after crash. Incident resembles others in recent years.