At an age when most kids start thinking about a driver's license, a pair of carjackers will be behind bars recalling their 45-minute joy ride.
After pleading guilty to charges of kidnapping and robbing a West Valley woman, the teens - ages 16 and 14 - were sentenced Thursday to the Decker Lake Youth Correction facility.Juvenile Court Judge Sharon McCulley told the boys their punishment should send a clear message that serious crimes committed by youths won't be tolerated.
"We can't treat this action any different just because you happen to be kids," said McCulley. "The fear felt by the victim of this crime was no less because you're kids . . . all the restitution and money in the world will not give her back her sense of security and safety."
On June 1, the boys approached Ellen Darby in her grandmother's driveway and threatened to kill her if she didn't hand over the keys to her Ford Escort and climb in back of the car.
Fearing for her life, Darby, 22, followed their orders and crouched underneath the rear hatch while the youths - armed with .357 caliber revolver - jumped in front and sped away.
Darby's nearly hourlong ordeal ended when the parents of the 16-year-old drove by and spotted their son driving the stolen car. They chased the boys through Kearns before cutting them off near 4000 West and 4700 South. The mother jumped out of her car and smashed Darby's rear window in anger.
Moments later, the frightened woman crawled from her cramped space.
"As she rode in the back of her car, Darby didn't know if she would live. She wondered if she would if have the chance to marry or have children," said deputy Salt Lake County attorney Rick Oddone.
After the hearing, Darby said she was satisfied with the judge's decision.
"Both of them are young, so I hope they can get some counseling and help," she said.
Although McCulley's sentence could stick until each boy turns 21, their exact time in confinement will likely be determined by juvenile authorities, said Oddone.