One youth dead, one arrested in crash of stolen Mendocino County school van

Five youth are suspected of stealing a van from the Laytonville Unified School District before crashing into a tree, killing one of the juveniles.|

A teenage boy is dead and another teen has been arrested following the crash of a stolen van in northeastern Mendocino County early Sunday morning.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office identified the boy who died as Deon Oldenes, 14, of Laytonville.

The unidentified driver was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft and vehicular manslaughter and taken to juvenile hall, according to the CHP. It was unclear whether he remained incarcerated late Monday.

CHP officials would not divulge the ages, genders or hometowns of any of the five youths involved in the deadly crash, which occurred at about 5 a.m. outside of Laytonville.

Local fire department officials who responded to the crash said the occupants of the Ford van were all boys and believed them to be Laytonville High School students.

The boys were in a van stolen from the Laytonville Unified School District when it crashed into a tree on Branscomb Road, causing Oldenes to be thrown from the vehicle and onto the shoulder of the road, the CHP said. He and others in the van were not wearing seat belts, according to the CHP.

The van continued moving, striking Oldenes in the road, according to the CHP.

There were no obvious indications of alcohol or drugs being involved, officials said.

No other details of the incident were available Monday, including why the boys took the van or how they got the keys to the school district vehicle. The CHP also did not report how many of the boys in the van were injured in the crash.

Laytonville High School Principal Tim Henry declined to comment on the incident or say what the school was doing to console or help grieving students.

Laytonville Unified School District Superintendent Joan Potter could not be reached for comment on Monday.

According to his Facebook page, Oldenes liked going to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California, riding dirt bikes, playing Candy Crush and the movie “Fast and Furious.”

His death is the latest in a series of tragedies to hit the Laytonville community this year, including a vicious knife attack during which two members of a Laytonville doctor’s family - including a Laytonville High School teen - were killed and two others were wounded by a young man they had befriended.

Last month, Mendocino County Sheriff’s officials ?identified remains found ?two years ago as those of a troubled young Laytonville woman who disappeared three years ago.

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