Teenager killed after stealing taxi

18 year-old Jeremy Schwierking died on Saturday, after he stole a taxi van in Traverse City and crashed it into a light pole. Two days later, Traverse City Police are releasing more details on the tragic incident to 7&4 News.

Police tell 7&4 News that early Saturday morning, 18 year-old Jeremy Schwierking was having drinks at a house party in Traverse City, when he decided to walk downtown without telling anyone.

Traverse City Police say they got a call at around 2:30am Saturday morning from Keith Barnsdale, the owner of Keith's Cool Ride Shuttle and Tours. Barnsdale reported that someone had driven-off with his taxi van.

Police say the cab driver left his van parked and running outside of the stretch of bars in downtown Traverse City on the 100 block of South Union Street.

When the driver came out, he saw someone get into the driver seat of his cab van; it was 18 year-old Jeremy Schwierking. The cab driver told him to get out, but Schwierking sped away.

Traverse City Police Captain Brian Heffner says, "The cab driver was pounding on the window for him to get out of the his cab he simply put it in drive and drove away. The cab driver held onto the cab for approximately a block, trying to get him to stop. The individual didn't stop, the cab driver let go, and he was not injured. The young man proceeded to pull onto Grandview Parkway eastbound..."

Traverse City Police say Schwierking was traveling nearly 60 miles per hour on East Front Street when he lost control, veered across the centerline, and crashed into a fire hydrant and light pole. Police say he was ejected from the taxi van and killed instantly.

Captain Brian Heffner says itâ??s a horrible ending to an unfortunate timeline of events. He says, "A few seconds either way, If the cab driver was already back at the cab after stepping out of it, If he would have left the party a little later... a little sooner, if he would have gotten out of the cab when the driver approached, If he would have went a little slower down the Parkway... All those play into a factor that could have changed the series of events, however it didn't and this young man has died as a result of these actions... "

Captain Heffner says because Schwierking was in a stolen car and had no ID or cell-phone with him, they could not identify him. He says it was a unique case, where they had to reach out to the news media and release his description to get his identity.

The case has been turned over to the Grand Traverse County Medical examiner, where they will do a toxicology report on Jeremy Schwierking.

Schwierking was living in Traverse City at the time of the crash. He was formerly from Rapid City.