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Prison for 16-year-old boy convicted in crash of stolen vehicle at 128th Air Refueling Wing

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MILWAUKEE — A 16-year-old boy who pleaded guilty in connection with a crash involving a stolen vehicle that happened at the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee in October of 2018 was sentenced to prison.

Lucas Zynel entered the plea in December of 2018 to two charges — take and drive vehicle without consent, and second degree recklessly endangering safety. In court on Wednesday, Feb. 20, he was sentenced to serve 18 months (a year and a half) in prison, and 24 months (two years) extended supervision on the first conviction. He was sentenced to serve four years in prison and four years extended supervision on the second conviction, with credit for 130 days time served. The sentences are to be served concurrently — so Zynel will serve four years in prison and four years extended supervision.

He was ordered to pay $11,500 in restitution to the Wisconsin Air National Guard.

His co-defendant, 17-year-old Symmian Phillips, faces one misdemeanor count of operating without consent — passenger. He has a plea/sentencing hearing set for Feb. 25.

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

Other cameras captured Zynel exiting the parking lot and driving west on Grange Avenue toward the entrance to the 128th Air Refueling Wing. Prosecutors said 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 said 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 said.

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 said 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 said 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 gunpoint.  All three were taken into custody.

The criminal complaint said 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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