Tuesday, June 24 2014, 11:14 PM EDT
Teen Steals Grandmother's Car, Dies after High-Speed Chase
"He was my whole life," said Ruth Johnson.
Ruth Johnson now clings to her grandson Tyler, through the pictures on her wall.
"I got up and he was gone. He had slipped out of his window and he took my car," said Johnson.
Tyler lived with his grandmother and has a history of behavior problems and ADHD. Ruth knew to look for him at a family friend's house, located about 15 minutes down the road.
"He left and he said he was going to 64 highway and he would be coming back. In the meantime his grandmother came and told me he had taken her car," said Cindy Coleman, a family friend.
"When we were there, he came back ... and he saw my sisters car so he went on ... and that's when we followed him," said Johnson.
Then Ruth called 911 and Bradley County Sheriff's Deputies responded.
"I was on with the 911 telling him every step he was making, every place he was going," said Johnson.
Ruth said at that point, Tyler was not speeding.
"I had told them, he didn't drive, that's the first time the kid has been on the road with a car ... and him being 16 years old and me telling them all this stuff on 9-1-1," said Johnson.
She says she begged them to stop chasing him.
"I told 9-11 that he couldn't drive," said Johnson.
"When the cops come around through there and they come with the sirens on, he took off," said Johnson.
Tennessee Highway Patrol says ultimately Tyler's car crossed over the center line on Michigan avenue, went into a ditch, and slammed into this telephone pole.
Ruth blames the chase, saying it was a mistake by law enforcement, and the reason she is now planning her grandson's funeral.
"There just shouldn't be no chasing, especially a kid," said Johnson.
We reached out to the Bradley County Sheriff's Office for a comment on their choice of action. They the directed us to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. THP says this is an active crash investigation.
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A teenager in Bradley County is dead after authorities say he stole his grandmother's car and led them on a high speed chase.
We're told 16-year-old Eric Tyler Johnson, known as Tyler, was staying with friends Monday morning. He apparently left that residence and stole his grandmother's car.
His grandmother came to the house looking for him, while he wasn't there. But he then pulled up in the driveway while driving his grandmother's car and immediately peeled out and away from the scene when he saw his grandmother was there. His grandmother called 911.
Bradley County authorities spotted the vehicle a short time later and started chasing it.
The chase ended with a crash on Michigan Avenue in Cleveland, when authorities say Tyler crossed the center line, went off the road into a ditch and struck a telephone pole.
He was pronounced dead on the scene.
NewsChannel9 is speaking with the grandmother this afternoon. Depend on us to have more on this developing story later Tuesday evening.