A 17-year-old Hemingford teen died in a rollover early Saturday morning.

Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman released that the teen had been found at the scene of the crash that occurred west of Highway 71 between Lake Minatare Road and Experiment Farm Road, 3.3 miles north of the Scottsbluff city limits on Highway 71.

The Scotts Bluff County Communications Center received a report of a vehicle “parked in a field” west of Highway 71 between Lake Minatare Road and Experiment Farm Road at about 4:22 a.m. Saturday. Another caller reported the vehicle “may have been in a rollover accident.”

A responding deputy located a severely damaged vehicle on its wheels in a field on the west side of the roadway. The deputy located a young male later on the ground in close proximity to the vehicle. Two males were on scene and stopped to render aid but did not witness the accident. The teen was alive but had serious head injuries and was also suffering from hypothermia. Valley Ambulance transported him to Regional West Medical Center where he died of his injuries.

Investigation revealed that the vehicle was traveling northbound on Highway 71 between Lake Minatare Road and Experiment Farm Road when the driver lost control due to an unknown cause, causing the vehicle to slide sideways as it crossed the centerline and running off the road to the left where it rolled several times, ejecting the unrestrained driver and sole occupant.

Investigation also revealed that the teen had allegedly stolen the vehicle from his brother’s girlfriend in Hemingford several hours earlier. The teen's brother and his girlfriend were not aware that the vehicle was missing until this incident occurred, and deputies asked the Alliance Police Department to contact the registered owner. The teen's brother said he did not have a driver's license nor knew how to drive and he had last been seen at about midnight. His brother speculated he had taken the car without permission to drive to Walmart in Scottsbluff and surveillance footage did confirm that the teen had been at the store at about 3:08 a.m.

No drug or alcohol involvement is suspected in this case and no autopsy is planned, Overman said.

Other agencies involved include Valley Ambulance, Scottsbluff Rural and  Scottsbluff Fire Departments, and the Scottsbluff, Gering, Alliance and Hemingford Police departments.   

The Star-Herald is not releasing the teen's identity due to a policy not to release names of fatality victims 24 hours after law enforcement have released information.

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