A grand jury has indicted a 15-year-old Lincoln boy on a manslaughter charge in connection to a Dec. 26 crash in a stolen SUV that ended in the death of his friend, 14-year-old Zayne Yost.
Anthony D. Moreno made his first appearance on the felony Monday afternoon by video from the Youth Services Center.
The day of the crash investigators had identified another boy as the driver. But, in a search warrant that followed in February, Nebraska State Patrol investigators made it clear they had come to believe Moreno was at the wheel of the 2003 Chevy Trailblazer when it crashed and rolled, throwing out all four of the teenagers inside.
Investigator Neal Trantham described the group of four hanging out, "ding-dong-ditching" and stealing things from unlocked cars that morning.
At about 4:10 a.m., he said, the group found the Trailblazer, unlocked and running, outside a home in Air Park. Trantham said Moreno and another boy took it, then picked up Yost and a 16-year-old who lived nearby.
Lincoln police got a report about the SUV being stolen and an officer, on his way home, spotted it at about 7:10 a.m. and called it in. A nearby Lancaster County sheriff's deputy caught up to it and tried to stop it but didn't pursue when the SUV sped away.
The Trailblazer was spotted again shortly after 8 a.m. downtown. A deputy followed, activating lights and sirens once the SUV got on Interstate 80. At the Northwest 48th Street exit, the SUV swerved, went in the ditch and rolled.
All four went to the hospital, where Yost was pronounced dead.
The indictment filed late Friday afternoon alleges Moreno killed Yost unintentionally while in the commission of an unlawful act: operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest.
He was booked into the Youth Services Center later that night.
At the hearing Monday, Lancaster County District Judge Darla Ideus appointed the Public Defender's office to represent Moreno and followed the state's recommendation to set his bond at $100,000, given the nature of the offense and prior assaults and threats made by the teen.
She said he will have 30 days to ask the judge to consider transferring his case to juvenile court.
A grand jury reviewed the case because it involved a death during a police pursuit.
Sign up for our Crime & Courts newsletter
Get the latest in local public safety news with this weekly email.