ONEIDA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Oneida Police are accusing people of “gawking” in the area where a teenager crashed an SUV into the gas line of a home, causing a massive explosion.
Police say people who are curious have been getting in the way of clean-up work and depriving victims of their privacy.
Sergeant Mike Burgess with the Oneida Police says: “While the road is technically open, we (and the residents/victims) prefer that people not flock to the area out of curiosity.”
He adds the situation “may require the road to be closed again if problems arise.”
Police say neighboring properties were also damaged so badly homeowners had to find other places to live. Officers are providing 24-hour patrols to keep out looters.
For the first time, police are sharing more details about the suspect with NewsChannel 9.
Burgess says police are familiar with the 17-year-old boy.
“Our officers spoke with him at the scene and accompanied him to a local hospital for minor injuries following the crash,” Burgess writes.
The teenager is accused of stealing a 2012 Toyota Rav4 from another home in Oneida, crashing it into the home on West Elm Street, severing a gas line that fueled the explosion three hours later.
Police don’t believe the teenager is related to any other investigations into vehicle thefts, notably the two vehicles stolen from Syracuse used to burglarize an Oneida smoke shop that resulted in an Onondaga County Sheriff’s Deputy killing two teenagers.
The teen is not yet under arrest, but police expect to file charges this week.
Police describe the case as “complex,” requiring a detailed investigation to charge the suspect with as much as possible.