A 12-year-old boy from Georgia was killed after the vehicle he was in flipped during a chase involving a state trooper on Friday, and his grieving mother says police should have stopped pursuing the vehicle because there were children in it.
A statement by police indicated the driver is suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol, and he now faces homicide-related charges for allegedly causing the boy’s death.
Leden Boykins died after a Georgia State Patrol trooper followed Charlie Moore’s vehicle during a highway chase and then used a tactic commonly called a PIT maneuver to end the pursuit, police said.
Leden was a passenger in Moore’s vehicle along with Moore’s teen son, according to a report from WXIA in Atlanta. Police said Moore’s Kia Sorento overturned after a pursuing trooper used the PIT, which is when a police vehicle clips the rear of a vehicle to make it spin out.
“He was robbed of his life,” Leden's mother, Toni Franklin-Boykins, told NBC News on Monday. “It was a very bad decision on their part."
"They could have called that off,” she said of the high-speed pursuit.
Georgia State Patrol said in an email on Monday that Moore, 35, was initially pulled over shortly after 1 a.m. by a trooper for speeding.
But he then refused to "lower his driver window or produce any type of identification.” The trooper who pulled Moore over, who was not named, then asked for assistance and a deputy with the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office responded. That deputy broke Moore's driver’s window.
Moore then drove away and led police on a highway chase, police said.
“The pursuit continued … at a high rate of speed and the driver was driving recklessly. The trooper terminated the chase … by using the Pursuit Immobilization Technique (P.I.T.). The Kia exited the roadway and overturned in a ditch. The rear seat passenger was unrestrained and suffered fatal injuries,” police said.
Moore and a 14-year-old passenger were treated for minor injuries, police said.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety’s Office of Professional Standards is conducting an internal investigation, police said.
Moore faces charges including murder during the commission of a felony, first-degree homicide by vehicle and aggravated assault against a peace officer. He was also was charged with DUI, having an open container in a motor vehicle and driving on a suspended license, police said.
It was unclear Monday if Moore had retained an attorney. Moore’s relatives could not be reached for comment. He remained in custody Monday in the Paulding County jail, said Sgt. Ashley Henson, a spokesman with the sheriff’s office.
Franklin-Boykins said she and her husband were in Michigan at a funeral during the crash. Her son was coming home with Moore and the other boy, who were his neighbors, Franklin-Boykins said. Moore had a job cleaning parking lots at night, and took the two boys along, she said.
She described her late son as energetic and popular in her neighborhood.
“He was the sweetest kid. That was taken away from me,” she said. “I don’t know how to deal with this going forward.”
An attorney representing Franklin-Boykins did not respond to requests for comment Monday afternoon.
When Moore, a Black man, was stopped by the state trooper, he had his son call 911 and ask for a supervisor because there were too many police cars and he feared for his life, WXIA reported.
Leden’s father, Anthony Boykins, told the news outlet, “They could put a roadblock up and protect those kids. They couldn’t figure out any other way than to flip that car over?”