LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It’s a Little Rock Police pursuit that later ended with a 14-year-old dead but officers never disclosed publicly that it happened.
Records reveal that 14-year-old Zayne Ortiz was a passenger in an SUV that a 12-year-old girl was driving. Investigators say the child took off in her parent’s vehicle back in March of 2021.
Officers attempted to stop the SUV with blue lights and a siren but the vehicle did not stop.
According to a Little Rock Police Department Administrative Investigative Report, first obtained by online bloggers Snarky Media Group, a police supervisor ordered the officer to ‘get off the vehicle’ because ‘we are not chasing a 12-year-old.’
Investigators reported the officer continued to flicker his blue lights and horn to try and get the girl to stop.
Cindy Ortiz, the boy’s mother, said the other child that survived the wreck reported that the driver was scared to pull over.
“If he [officer] would’ve just backed off completely, they wouldn’t have been able to see his lights,” Ortiz said.
Officers were not technically in pursuit, however, you hear the patrol engine revving and revving. Even after a minute and going 90 miles per hour without blue lights or siren, you hear the engine revving.
As the officer was following down Chicot Road, the brake lights to the SUV disappeared from the dash-cam view. As the officer caught up, you see a tree across the road.
“The vehicle just flipped over,” the officer told dispatch.
Ortiz said Zayne died instantly.
“He was already gone,” he said.
The other two kids were hurt and you can hear them crying and screaming for help.
“There’s really something wrong with this. They messed up and they just don’t want to tell me,” Ortiz said.
Little Rock Vice Mayor Lance Hines said he has major concerns.
“It wasn’t accountable, clear and transparent,” Hines said. “It’s an active effort to keep it from getting out that an LRPD police chase ended in the death of a 14-year-old.”
Ortiz said she feels like she’s been lied to and is calling on the prosecutor to investigate if there’s any criminal wrongdoing by the officer.
“It’s really hard. It hurts and I don’t want another parent to go through what I did,” Ortiz said.
The officer following the SUV resigned and another officer received a five-day suspension.
On Tuesday and after a request for comment, Little Rock Police acknowledged there was a lack of information provided.
The department wrote in a statement that it will ensure going forward incidents of this magnitude are shared in a timely manner.
Saline County deputies investigated the crash itself, not the pursuit.
Sources close to the assistant chiefs said that the top commanders only learned of the chase Tuesday, after the file came to light.