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Parents of 12-year-old killed in high-speed chase with state troopers want answers

Leden Boykins’ parents listened to the 911 call from inside the car the boy was in, as troopers were chasing the driver, during the last minutes of Leden’s life.

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia State Patrol has brought murder charges against the driver who led troopers on a high speed chase on Highway 92 in Paulding County, a chase that ended when troopers performed a PIT maneuver to force the driver to stop, resulting in a crash that killed the 12 year old passenger in that car.

The troopers are also under investigation, which is routine when they are involved in fatal car wrecks.

The Paulding County parents of Leden Boykins tell 11Alive they want everyone responsible held accountable.

As the troopers were chasing a driver they’d just tried to pull over for speeding Friday morning, the driver was on the phone with Paulding County 911.

“I am afraid. I’m afraid for my life,” he told 911, trying to call the cops on the troopers who were chasing him.

RELATED: 12-year-old killed in crash after state troopers used PIT maneuver to stop car

“They need to get them off of me, right now,” the driver said, “because I’m scared, I’ve got my kids with me, right now.”

The driver was referring to both children who were in the car with him as his kids -- 12-year-old Leden Boykins, the son of a family friend, and the driver’s own 14-year-old son.

“We heard the 911 call,” Leden’s father, Anthony Boykins said, Monday.

He and Leden’s mother, Toni Boykins, said the driver, a neighbor who was giving Leden a ride home, should not have sped away from troopers who had pulled him over for speeding.

“He does bear some responsibility,” Anthony said, “that he was pulled over, and he had kids in the car,” and was speeding and driving recklessly, according to the state patrol.

But what the parents do not understand is why the troopers chose to end the chase with a PIT maneuver that caused the crash that killed Leden.

Credit: Photo Provided by Boykins Family
Leden Boykins

“I’ve got my kids with me, man," the driver said on the 911 call. “Oh my God, no, they’re trying to flip my car, man.”

When the troopers forced the car off of the road and it spun and overturned, the phone remained connected to 911. The driver was heard shouting, “Leden! Leden! Leden! No!...” realizing that Leden had been killed.

“Why was he (the driver) considered so dangerous that they had to flip that car with them kids in there?” Anthony asks. “Why did he (the trooper) make that decision? Why did he decide to flip that car knowing there was kids in there?”

Georgia State Patrol chase policy requires troopers to evaluate all possible variables, including whether there are children in the car they are chasing, before deciding whether to perform a PIT maneuver.

The policy says troopers must consider several, specific methods of stopping a fleeing vehicle before they consider using the PIT maneuver, and the troopers must quickly decide if a PIT maneuver could place the occupants of the fleeing vehicle at greater risk of injury and death than what could happen if the troopers do not perform the PIT maneuver -- whether others on the road could face injury and death from the fleeing driver.

The driver is now facing a long list of charges that include murder and DUI. The DUI charge was because he refused a breathalyzer. 

Leden’s parents want the troopers involved held accountable, too.

“Any car chase, the car chase goes for so long, the police back off when there’s people in danger,” Anthony said.

Leden’s parents found out Monday that the GBI has Leden’s body — they said they weren’t able to confirm that until now — and they’ve been promised it will be released to them this week, so they can begin planning Leden’s funeral.

They said they are still trying to find out who identified Leden’s body on Friday, before, they said, they’d even found out he’d been killed in the crash.

RELATED: Georgia State Patrol response in Grant Park seen in viral video was to stop stolen car, agency says