Jalen A. Alexander, 18, of the 1200 block of Wickford Place, was charged Monday with inducing panic and disorderly conduct.
An 8-year-old Huron boy was walking along Eagle Ridge Road Jan. 10 when a car pulled alongside him and one of the occupants offered him some candy, according to a Huron police report. The boy ran home and told his parents, who immediately called police. The boy’s father said his son was “shaking, scared and extremely upset after the incident,” the report said.
The boy provided deputies a detailed description: a white, older-model car with a “For Sale” sign in the window and a dent on the passenger side. He told police the three occupants looked to be in their 20s or 30s, the report said.
The boy’s parents alerted neighbors and the Register published a story on the incident. The Huron school board then alerted parents, too, and the school district and police department ultimately fielded a number of phone calls from worried residents, according to a police report.
The day after the incident, a McCormick Middle School teacher told police the vehicle likely belongs to a woman who lives on Cleveland Road East. Deputies went to the address and found the vehicle parked in the driveway.
After identifying the driver, deputies learned Alexander was one of two passengers in the car. The driver, a 19-year-old Huron man, told deputies he warned Alexander not to roll down his window and say anything to the boy, according to a report.
The driver told deputies Alexander didn’t say anything to the boy — he simply rolled down his window and looked at him, the report said.
The other passenger, a 16-year-old Huron girl, offered the same story. Alexander and the 16-year-old girl, accompanied by their mothers, later showed up at the victim’s home and apologized for their actions, although they both denied saying anything to the boy, the report said.
The boy positively identified Alexander as the man who offered him some candy and told him to “come here,” the report said.
Deputies met with Huron city prosecutor Laura Alkire, who approved charges for Alexander. He’s scheduled to appear Friday in Huron Municipal Court.
Deputies said it appears Alexander was goofing around and trying to get a laugh out of his friends.
“Basically, it’s the boy’s word against the three that were in the car, that anything was said,” Erie County Sheriff’s Detective Paul DeFazio said. “But the fact that he rolled down the window as they approached the kid — with no business doing that, since it’s the middle of winter — there’s ill intent. That should never have happened.
“I think he was trying to be funny and impress his friends,” DeFazio said. “It’s not the way it ended up.”
Alexander is a full-time college student, while the driver is enrolling in the military and the 16-year-old girl is a good student, deputies said.
“I’m certain that boy was not in any danger, and there was no intent to entice that boy into the car,” DeFazio said. “It’s a relief for me and a lot of people who knew about the incident, that it was teenagers goofing around. Unfortunately for (Alexander), the community expects action. And that’s what we did.”