Two teenagers have been found guilty of kidnapping two brothers aged two and four after stealing a car and driving off with the children inside.
The youths, aged 15 at the time, claimed they did not know the young boys were strapped in the back seats when the pair took the Nissan Note from the Selly Park area of Birmingham in February.
The children’s father had been dropping off food at a friend’s home at the time and was left crying hysterically in the street as the car sped off, the city’s magistrates’ court heard.
A police chase ensued and – after spotting a police van and oncoming police cars – the teenagers crashed into two other vehicles at high speed on the busy A38 Bristol Road.
The driver ran off but both youths were later arrested by armed police.
The older child was uninjured in the crash although the two-year-old suffered a cut to his mouth and a bruised shoulder caused by the straps of his car seat.
Both defendants admitted aggravated vehicle taking, incorporating dangerous driving, at a previous hearing, but denied kidnap.
The boy who drove the car said he took the vehicle to settle a £40 drug debt and claimed he had mistaken the children’s father for a delivery driver.
He insisted he did not realise the young brothers were in the car until he was arrested on suspicion of kidnap.
However, a judge at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court accepted evidence from the boys’ father, who said he had shouted to the teenagers that his sons were inside the vehicle.
The judge said it was common sense that the children would not have remained quiet during the journey, ruling the younger youth had decided to steal the Nissan and the other "went along with" the theft.
Claiming he intended to sell the car to pay off a debt, the driver described the moment of the crash in court.
"I ‘sandwiched’ the car between two other cars and then ran off," he said.
"The very second I have crashed, the airbags went off in my face. It was smoky in the car and I have blacked out for a quick second. My ears were ringing and then I ran off."
The older youth has been bailed until sentencing on 17 May, although the driver will be remanded into youth detention and sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on 19 May.
Neither defendant can be named because of their ages.