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1 of 2 charged in crash of stolen vehicle at 128th Air Refueling Wing pleads not guilty

MILWAUKEE — One of two young men accused in connection with a crash involving a stolen vehicle that happened at the 128th Air Refueling Wing at General Mitchell International Airport on Oct. 14 has pleaded not guilty.

Lucas Zynel, 17, on Monday, Oct. 29 was in court for his preliminary hearing, which he waived. Probable cause was found for further proceedings, and he was bound over for trial. A scheduling conference was set for Nov. 12.

He faces three counts: Take/drive vehicle without consent, vehicle operator flee/elude officer, second degree recklessly endangering safety.

His alleged co-defendant, Symmian Phillips, 17, faces one count of operate vehicle without consent, passenger. He is due in court on Nov. 12 for a scheduling conference.

Prosecutors say the vehicle in this case was stolen from a driveway in St. Francis.

Vehicle stolen from St. Francis before crashing at 128th Air Refueling Wing

Surveillance video shows Zynel driving the vehicle outside the 128th Air Refueling Wing, where prosecutors say he met up with two others — Phillips and a 14-year-old boy who were in a separate stolen vehicle. The video shows them moving items from the second vehicle into the first, prosecutors say.

Other cameras captured Zynel exiting the parking lot and driving west on Grange Avenue toward the entrance to the 128th Air Refueling Wing. Prosecutors say Zynel did not stop at the security checkpoint. A military officer on duty began to pursue the vehicle.

In the middle of the pursuit, prosecutors say Zynel stopped the vehicle and swapped seats with the 14-year-old boy.

A shot was fired by a military officer when the 14-year-old made no effort to slow down and veered around an officer at the last minute. One of the vehicle’s tires was hit. From there, the 14-year-old drove through a barricade, prosecutors say.

A military officer attempted to stop the vehicle by pinning it in front while another security officer pulled a military squad close behind it.  Prosecutors say the 14-year-old did not stop and tried to drive around the barricade. In the process, the stolen vehicle crashed into the officer’s squad car — causing damage. The 14-year-old struck another military squad on his way to try to exit the gate to the base.

Prosecutors say the 14-year-old then attempted to drive through the closed gate to the base, but was unsuccessful and got stuck. At that point, the three suspects were ordered out of the car at gun point.  All three were taken into custody.

The criminal complaint says squad video showed the 14-year-old and Phillips laughing and joking about the fact that they were on a military base and being shot at. Phillips said he saw military personnel in the parking lot when they were moving property from one stolen vehicle to the other. The two continued to laugh about the damage to the military security squad vehicles and both made comments indicating they knew the vehicle was stolen when they entered it. Both acknowledged hearing a voice over the base PA system during the pursuit that the base was in lockdown mode.

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