Fugitive 16-year-old Turkish driver sent to correctional facility in US

U.S. authorities placed 16-year-old underage driver Timur Cihantimur who was wanted by Turkey on charges related to a fatal car crash in Istanbul in a correctional facility and denied his release in his first court appearance.

Duvar English

Journalist Emrullah Erdinc has shared details about the arrest of Turkish author Eylem Tok and her 16-year-old son Timur Cihantimur in the U.S. as they have been wanted by Turkey on charges that he was involved in a fatal car crash in Istanbul and subsequently fled the country with the help of his mother.

Erdinc also shared the first mugshot of the fugitive underage driver who killed Oğuz Murat Aci, 29. According to the details, he was placed in an correctional facility in Connecticut as he is below 18.

Cihantimur was brought to the correctional facility for minors on June 14 after his arrest. In the first hearing held on June 18, the court decided not to release Cihantimur and the case was adjourned to June 20.

Cihantimur was defended by two American attorneys hired by his father. The lawyers based their defense on Cihantimur's “poor conditions” and claimed that he was forced to do tasks such as weeding, cleaning floors and toilets at the center.

"He is in very bad conditions in the correctional facility. This child needs to be reintegrated into society. He has difficulty in doing the assigned tasks. We are afraid that he may harm himself,” the lawyers claimed.

The court refused both his release and his relocation.

Cihantimur, who was being tried in the Juvenile Court, was judged on the same day as his mother Tok, and the court decided that her detention would continue as well. Tok's next hearing was scheduled for June 27.

At the end of the hearing, when someone from the audience shouted, "How does it feel to be the mother of a murderer?" Tok responded with, "Allahu Akbar."

What happened?

According to prosecutors, the teenager was driving a Porsche on the night of March 1 when, while speeding around a corner, he crashed into a group of people on all-terrain vehicles. One person, Oğuz Murat Aci, died and four others were injured.

Prosecutors said the teenager immediately fled the scene after saying something like "my life is over."

He was picked up by the family's driver, and within three or four hours Tok had bought one-way plane tickets for herself and her son from Istanbul to Cairo, Egypt, according to court papers. Authorities said they continued to the United States, landing in New York on March 2.

Turkey is seeking Cihantimur's extradition so he could be prosecuted for causing reckless killing and injury, while Tok, 44, is wanted on the charge of protecting an offender.