Girl, 14, dies in car crash during police chase

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The Independent Online
A 14-YEAR-OLD girl died yesterday when the stolen car she was driving somersaulted and crossed a dual carriageway after a police chase in Birmingham.

Two boys, aged 16 and 17, who were also in the Rover Metro car, escaped without injury and were arrested near the crash scene.

The girl was named as Sally-Ann Cattell, of Yardley, Birmingham, who had been at St John's Children's Home in Erdington, Birmingham, since last Thursday. The boys were also from the same home.

A police spokesman said: 'We believe the police officers fully complied with force guidelines as regards the stopping and following of vehicles. This tragic incident only underlines the dangers of young people illegally driving motor vehicles.'

Officers saw the car going through a red light in Chester Road, Erdington, at about 3am. Later when it crossed the same crossing police followed it and put on their blue flashing light. 'The car was travelling at speeds between 50 and 60 mph. There was no slowing at junctions and the car was being driven erratically,' the spokesman said.

The officers lost sight of the car as it crossed a humpback bridge. The car, which had been stolen from Bromsgrove, Hereford and Worcester, appeared to have hit the kerb then overturned, and slid on its side for about 50 yards before coming to rest on its bonnet after hitting a lamppost.

Paul Sutton, general manager for children and families at Birmingham social services department, said Sally-Ann had been in care at the children's home at the request of her family.

'She had been in care about a month following difficulties with her mother . . . and was looked after on a voluntary basis at the request of her family.'

Mr Sutton said that the day before the tragedy Sally-Ann had been granted a day's visiting pass to see her mother. But she failed to return at the set time of 9.30pm and was reported missing.

Two boys aged 16 and 17 will appear before magistrates at Sutton Coldfield Youth Court today, accused of aggravated vehicle taking, allowing themselves to be carried in a stolen vehicle and having no insurance.