A joy riding experience turned out to be not so joyful for at least one teenage passenger and the driver of the pickup truck on which she was riding.
The Thursday afternoon incident, which resulted in a teenage girl being transported by ambulance and the 15-year-old driver being transported by Indianola police, could have ended in a fatality instead of just an injury.
The victim, identified only as a young girl, was reportedly one of almost a dozen youths riding on the back of a pickup truck near the intersection of Roosevelt Street and Pershing Street.
Indianola police were called to the scene around 2 p.m., after a witness saw the girl fall from the vehicle. The nature of the teen’s injuries was not immediately known, but according to the investigating officer at the scene she was shrieking too much to get a coherent response.
The witness, who said he had just flagged the driver down and warned him against speeding on the residential streets, said he counted at least 15 juveniles in the vehicle, five in the cab and about 10 on the back of the truck. He said that at least one of the passengers in the truck was insolent, cursed at him and urged the driver to go on and not listen to his warnings.
He said the driver was speeding and the children were tossing water balloons from the back of the truck when the girl fell. The 15-year-old driver did not have a driver's license and the vehicle was not insured, so it had to be towed from the scene. Officers said the owner of the vehicle will likely also face charges.
Police said drivers need to know that because of Mississippi seat belt regulations, it is against the law for passengers to ride on the bed of a truck. Local law enforcement added that if there is no seat belt, then there should be no rider.
With the weather warming up and outdoor activities resuming, youth are cautioned to be safe during their summer break and not take senseless risks.