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12-year-old killed while walking on I-77 after stealing car

Authorities said the boy was staying with family members at a hotel in Statesville when he drove away in a car that was left unlocked in the parking lot.

A 12-year-old was killed while walking on Interstate 77 early Sunday after driving away from a hotel where he was staying with family members.

Authorities did not identify the juvenile but said the boy sneaked out of his family’s hotel room, according to local news reports. The Associated Press reported that the teen was from Kannapolis.

Based on surveillance video, Highway Patrol has determined that the boy checked cars in the parking lot of a Best Western in Statesville to see which were unlocked, WBTV reported.

He found an unlocked 2004 Honda Civic with keys inside and drove away, WBTV said.

The boy drove several miles on I-77 around 4 a.m. before leaving the car on the side of the interstate and heading back toward the hotel on foot. He was walking in the middle of the interstate and several cars had already swerved to avoid hitting him when he was struck by a Chevrolet Impala near mile marker 47, WBTV reported.

The driver who struck the teen won’t be charged, authorities said.

Highway Patrol troopers figured out where the boy’s family was after they found a hotel key card at the scene.

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