URBANA — A Champaign County judge Friday ordered two 13-year-old boys charged with stealing a car to remain locked up until their next court hearings.

Judge Tom Difanis found probable cause to hold the boys, one from Rantoul and the other a DCFS ward living in Urbana, in the Juvenile Detention Center after arraigning them on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle.

Assistant State’s Attorney Brooke Hinman told the judge that a woman reported her Ford Explorer, which was unlocked with the keys left inside, had been stolen from the 1300 block of North Lincoln Avenue in Urbana some time before 7:45 a.m. Thursday.

About 8:30 a.m., Champaign police spotted the vehicle being driven erratically on North Fourth Street and said the driver appeared to be about 14.

Police tried to stop the Explorer, and the driver pulled over.

As two officers were outside their squad car, the teen driving the Explorer put it in reverse and hit the squad car. The officers were not hurt.

The SUV took off, and other police departments joined in pursuing it, using lights and sirens. Hinman said the driver disregarded stop signs and speed limits on several city streets while fleeing from police.

The SUV ultimately came to a stop with two flat tires on the driver’s side in a mobile-home park on George Street north of Urbana.

Two male teens and one female got out and ran. Police found them hiding and arrested the two boys about 9 a.m.

Inside the vehicle was a bottle of vodka that the owner said did not belong to her, Hinman said.

Hinman said the teen who was driving has two pending cases: one for possession of a stolen vehicle from Champaign in June and another for aggravated robbery from Urbana in February. He had been released from detention on one of the pending cases July 6.

The other teen had no pending cases, but Difanis noted that the youth, who lives in a foster home, has had multiple police contacts over the last two years for aggravated battery, criminal damage to property, theft and domestic battery.

The boys were told to be back in court on Aug. 17 and 19.

mschenk@news-gazette.com