The fact he was three days short of his 18th birthday when he slammed his car into a tree while doing 80 mph through a residential neighborhood will not save a teen from facing prison time as an adult.
The driver, Ryan Armstrong, 18, has been transferred to adult court from juvenile court given the severity of his charges and the fact he was just three days short of being legal age at the time of the wreck July 26. He has been indicted on charges of reckless endangerment, vehicular assault, and DUI.
His charges come after the 1999 Plymouth Breeze he was driving left the road on West End Avenue late in the evening on July 26 and slammed into a tree. The crash left Armstrong, along with his three teenage passengers, seriously injured, two of them airlifted for treatment of life-threatening injuries.
An investigation revealed Armstrong was allegedly traveling 80 mph when he lost control of the vehicle and ran through a front yard in the residential neighborhood. The posted speed limit on the two-lane city street is 30 mph. Witnesses say the Plymouth was taking up both lanes of the street when it came upon another car heading toward it. This caused the driver to have to swerve, prompting his loss of control at his high rate of speed.
“The citizens of McMinnville were in danger from his speed and recklessness,” patrolman Paul Springer said in his complaint against the youth.
In addition to recklessness, police also say Armstrong was high when his car slammed into the tree. Specifically, Springer said an aerosol can was found on the driver side of the vehicle and a witness who was in the car told police Armstrong was huffing the contents of the can for purposes of intoxication.
Armstrong faces two to four years in prison on the vehicular assault charges. Had he remained under juvenile supervision the most he could have faced was confinement with the Department of Youth Development until his 19th birthday.