Runaway Pa. teen, man she met over Internet in custody after traffic stop

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Nov 14, 2007 - Teen-age drivers have a reputation for bad, or at least questionable, driving skills, and a Pennsylvania teen’s failure to control speed Tuesday resulted in her detention in a Greenville juvenile facility and the arrest of the 36-year-old man she met over the Internet for enticing the 16-year-old runaway.

It all began when Sulphur Springs police officers performed a routine traffic stop on a Jeep Liberty with California license plates at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, after noticing the vehicle was speeding on South Broadway Street.

The 16-year-old Kittanning, Pa., girl was driving. The passenger was a 36-year-old man, whose driver’s license showed his address to be in East Hampton, Conn., but who said he’s been staying in San Antonio. He was born in India, according to arrest reports.

A routine check of the teen’s driver’s license showed her listed as a runaway from Kittanning. She was taken to Sulphur Springs Police Department until Pennsylvania authorities could confirm the charge.

When asked by police, the 11th-grader said she initially made contact with the man over the Internet, and that he knew she is only 16. She claimed she had family problems and contacted the suspect in San Antonio, and he picked her up “50 to 60 miles away.” They were going to Houston, she said.

The 36-year-old man said the teen led him to believe she was 18, and told officers she contacted him, “wanting to get away from her family.” He said he rented the Jeep, picked her up two days before in Kittanning, and was taking her to San Antonio, according to offense reports.

Hopkins County juvenile probation officers were contacted and instructed local officers to take the teen to the juvenile detention center in Greenville to be held until someone from Pennsylvania arrives to take custody of her. Police took her fellow traveler to the county jail on the charge for enticing a child, a class B misdemeanor office, according to arrest and offense reports by officers Mark Estes and Matt Glenn.

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