Asheville, NC (written by Sabian Warren/Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Four teen girls' early morning joy ride turned into a two-state, high-speed police chase that ended in a crash here.
Deputies used stop sticks to finally slow down the fleeing teens from Erwin, Tenn. -- all either 13 or 14 years old -- who led officers on a 46-mile Interstate 26 chase in a stolen Jeep Liberty.
The chase, which approached speeds of 100 mph, ended about 4 a.m. Tuesday when the teens crashed into a telephone pole.
The chain of events started shortly before 3 a.m. when one of the girls stole the Jeep from a friend's mother. Erwin police were notified, and officers put out an alert for the vehicle, Erwin Police Chief Regan Tilson said.
The 14-year-old driver suffered a broken wrist and head wound, said her mother, Mysti Potter.
Potter said her daughter panicked when officers began pursuit, and one bad thing led to another.
"She panicked because she doesn't have a license," Potter said. "She freaked out and ran."
Three friends in the car added to the stress.
"One was telling her to wreck the car and kill them all so they wouldn't have to go to jail," Potter said. "One was telling her to go, go, go, and one was telling her to stop."
Potter said her daughter was treated at a local hospital then taken to a juvenile detention facility.
Madison officers said Potter's daughter will be charged with felony fleeing to elude arrest, felony possession of a stolen vehicle, speeding and reckless endangerment, according to her mother.
"I do not want to go home without my child," Potter said. "She's my baby. She's an A and B student. She's had four C's in her entire life."
Two other girls in the car were treated for minor injuries.
Two of the juveniles were released to their parents without charges, Potter said. A third girl will face a minor charge, Potter said.
Tennessee authorities said charges are likely in that state as well. Madison County Sheriff's Office officials declined to comment Monday, citing the ongoing investigation.
Tennessee officers stopped their pursuit at the state line, and the chase was taken up by Madison County deputies, Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said. Madison deputies chased the girls into Asheville, N.C., until the Jeep crashed.
According to Potter, the other girls came and picked up her daughter after the Jeep had been stolen.
"She didn't know the car was stolen when she got in," Potter said. The girls cruised around awhile, and at some point her daughter took a turn driving.
It was at that point that Unicoi sheriff's deputies and Tennessee Highway Patrol officers spotted the vehicle on I-26 and gave chase.
Potter, who said her daughter is still dazed from her head wound, said she's upset at how the girl was treated after the crash. Officers ordered her to put her hands up, then threw her on the ground and handcuffed her.
"They put handcuffs on the fractured wrist of a 14-year-old diabetic girl," Potter said. "She's got road rash on her shoulder from being thrown down."
Police did not name the girls because they are juveniles. The Citizen-Times has withheld the name of Potter's daughter for the same reason.