Suspect in boy chase arrested
Decatur police charge Trinity man with harassment
By Paul Huggins
Decatur police arrested the man they believe enticed an 8-year-old boy with candy and then chased the boy in his car.
Officers credit the arrest of the 19-year-old suspect, William Jennings Auton of Trinity, to numerous tips from citizens, eyewitness accounts and assistance from Trinity police.
“This arrest is a great example of citizens and the police department working together for a safer community,” said Lt. Chris Mathews, public information officer.
At about 4 p.m. Wednesday, the boy was walking on Lenox Drive Southwest when a car approached him. The driver revved the engine, frightening the boy, Mathews said, and the boy ran away.
One eyewitness reported seeing the boy running from Ashville Drive, turning the corner onto Duncansby with a red car behind him, and said the boy “looked like he was frantic.”
Auton allegedly drove in pursuit of the boy and at one time offered him candy, Mathews said. After refusing the candy, the boy ran to a nearby house for help.
The incident prompted police and school officials Thursday to urge parents and children to be on the lookout for the suspect’s vehicle, a red Honda Accord with a spoiler and loud tailpipes.
On Friday, at about 7:30 p.m., Trinity police stopped to assist a disabled red Accord on Alabama 24 at Hudson Road. Upon recognizing Auton as a suspect, officers notified Decatur police, who arrested him for harassment.
He paid a $500 bond and was released late Friday night.
Police reported Thursday that a black male passenger was in the red Accord with Auton, but there was no report on the second suspect at the time of Auton’s arrest.
Police said they do not believe Wednesday’s incident was connected to an earlier incident in which a white male in a red car tried to pick up a juvenile in Southeast Decatur.
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