Valley teen clings to life, but shouldn't have been behind the wheel

Valley teen clings to life, but shouldn't have been behind the wheel

A Valley teen is in critical condition after a violent car crash, but we're getting different stories as to why a 15-year-old was behind the wheel of a company car and alone.

The victim remains in Huntsville Hospital and he's not doing well.

We've heard different accounts from the owner of the vehicle and the teen's family.

The real question is as this young man hangs on to his life, how did the keys end up in his hand?

Candace Blake, the office manager at The Cleaning Company, says, "Ron stipulates that only people 21 years of age or older drive our vehicles."

But a 15-year-old male ended up behind the wheel of the Ford Taurus station wagon belonging to The Cleaning Company.

We're told the teen left the business in Hazel Green on an errand.

Seconds later, it appears he lost control on Highway 431.

The airbags deployed, the windows are completely gone, and we're told this car flipped seven times.

The teen's aunt, Virginia Hollingsworth, who was an employee with The Cleaning Company, often drove that company vehicle to and from work and for company business.

She claims the owner, Ron Hardin, gave her nephew permission to drive the car.

She tells WAFF 48 News: "I went outside, my car was gone and I said, 'Where's the car?' and they said Ron told him to take the car and go to the house and get a piece of rope."

WAFF 48's Jeanie Powell asked Hollingsworth: "Did you know he was driving that Ford Taurus yesterday?"

She responded, "No, I did not."

We're told Virginia Hollingsworth was there that day.

Hardin says the boy told him he could run the errand himself, but the owner shot that down, because he was sure they could find what they needed at the shop.

Employees say the teen isn't on the payroll but has pitched in before.

They say they had no idea he had taken the car and would never authorize him to do so.

Blake, who was also working that day, says, "She stated that he was in an accident and that he was hurt and the rest of us were standing around like we didn't even know he left. She had the wagon keys in her possession because she was driving it."

Blake continues, "I think it's tragic because he's so young and it could've been prevented."

The owner says he has filed a police report for unauthorized use of a vehicle because he never said the teen could drive the car.

Hardin terminated the teen's aunt Thursday.

This accident is still under investigation.