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13-year-old passenger in stolen vehicle killed after driver flees from deputies and crashes in Adelanto

ADELANTO, Calif. ( — Sheriff’s officials released information regarding a crash that claimed the life of a 13-year-old Adelanto boy and confirmed he was a passenger in a vehicle that fled from police and crashed.

On Sunday, September 24, 2023, at approximately 1:02 a.m., deputies with the Victor Valley/Adelanto Station attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle driving without its lights on in the area of Bellflower Street and Seneca Road.

Officials said the unidentified driver fled and shortly thereafter lost control of the vehicle, crashing into a chain link fence at John Mgrdichian Park. The vehicle came to a stop on its side in the park.

Sheriff’s officials said the vehicle, a 2015 Chevy Cruz, with five people was found to have been reported stolen the prior day.

Emergency personnel arrived and Ronell Thomas was pronounced deceased at the scene. Two juveniles, one male and one female, both 15-years-old, were transported to hospitals for injuries sustained in the crash.

“The remaining two occupants fled on foot. One occupant, a 14-year-old male, was located and the other remains outstanding and unidentified,” stated sheriff’s officials.

The following morning at about 7:10 am, an unrelated fatal vehicle versus pedestrian accident happened on Seneca Road, less than 1 mile away from the park.

In a Monday morning statement, the Adelanto Elementary School District (AESD) announced the passing of two of their students who attended schools in the district.

“One student was an 8th grader at Columbia Middle School, and the other student was a 6th grader at Melva Davis Academy of Excellence, and both passed away due to separate vehicle accidents.”

Aiden Ortiz, 12, a resident of Adelanto, was later identified as the 6th grader who was struck and killed as he attempted to cross Seneca Road to get to his bus stop. The driver of the involved vehicle remained at the scene and cooperated with police.

Anyone with information about the fatal stolen vehicle pursuit investigation is asked to contact the Victor Valley Station at (760) 552-6800 or Sheriff’s Dispatch at (760) 956-5001.

Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip website at

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