One teenager was killed and two others were seriously injured after crashing a car they are accused of stealing early Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla. Photo courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
Oct. 3 (UPI) -- A Florida teenager was killed and two others were hospitalized with serious injuries after crashing an allegedly stolen car while attempting to flee police.
The crash occurred early Sunday in the area of 1024 62nd Avenue North in the city of St. Petersburg, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said in a release.
A 15-year-old male suspect was pronounced dead at the scene while a 16-year-old male was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and was not expected to survive and a 15-year-old was hospitalized with critical injuries.
Police said its flight unit helicopter was responding to a 3:20 a.m. call concerning a vehicle burglary in progress in the 2998 58th Avenue North when they noticed the trio of boys unrelated to the first investigation attempt to break into vehicles.
The boys were watched by the police helicopter as one of the suspects used his t-shirt to open the unlocked door of a silver Maserati, which was parked in the driveway of a residence. With the keys inside the vehicle, the three teenagers were able to start the car that they then drove eastbound on 62nd Street North.
When patrol deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, the Maserati sped away at speeds of 80 mph in a 35 mph zone, which caused the driver, identified as the surviving 15-year-old, to loose control of the vehicle, which drove over a curb and hit a business sign, causing it to flip.
The deceased teenager was identified as the front passenger of the vehicle while the 16-year-old was in the backseat, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told reporters during a press conference from the crash site.
Gualtieri said police did not pursue the stolen vehicle, as per the department's rules. The whole incident has been captured on video from the helicopter above and dash cameras of police cars, which Gualtieri said will probably be released to the public on Tuesday.
"These are young kids, they're inexperienced drivers. No driver's licenses. Driving at 3:30 in the morning at 80 miles an hour," he said.
He described the teens as having been heading down "that bad path."
Of the three, only one had been previously arrested, that on a misdemeanor offense in June, he said, but the trio had been stopped by police on Sept. 11 at about 4 a.m. while dressed all in black with their faces covered in a residential area.
"What we see with these kids time and again is they're out in the middle of the night looking for cars to break into, looking for cars to steal and these are again crimes of opportunity," he said. "They're looking for unlocked cars and cars with keys in them and that's what they found here."
Gualtieri said unlike similar situations, the parents of the teenagers were involved in their children's lives.
One of the parents on noticing their son exhibiting concerning behavior had even recently changed their school, he said, adding that when the accident occurred all thought their children were at home.
"So you can only imagine the angst those parents when in the last 45 minutes when we knocked on their door and told them that one of their sons is deceased and the other one is probably going to be deceased," he said.