12-year-old killed walking on I-77 after stealing car from hotel parking lot

A 12-year-old was killed while walking on Interstate 77 early Sunday after driving away from a hotel where he was staying with his family.

Highway Patrol Sgt. J.R. Fleming said the boy sneaked out of his family’s hotel room early Sunday, according to the Associated Press. He won’t be identified due to his age, though the AP reported that he was from Kannapolis.

Based on surveillance video, Highway Patrol has determined the 12-year-old checked cars in the parking lot of a Statesville Best Western to see which were unlocked, WBTV reported.

He found an unlocked 2004 Honda Civic with keys inside and stole the car, WBTV said.

The 12-year-old drove several miles on I-77 around 4 a.m. before leaving the car on the side of the interstate and heading back toward the hotel on foot, the AP reported. He was walking in the middle of the interstate and several cars had already swerved to avoid him when he was hit by a Chevrolet Impala near mile marker 47, WBTV reported.

Highway Patrol troopers figured out where the boy’s family was because a Best Western key card was found at the scene, WBTV reported.

The Chevrolet driver won’t be charged, Fleming said, and speed and alcohol weren’t factors in the crash.

Jane Wester: 704-358-5128, @janewester