The Explorer hit a speed of more than 100 miles per hour, according to the sheriff, and flew through the intersection of US-19 and Tampa Road, crashing into an uninvolved vehicle. Both vehicles were spotted by deputies in early Sunday morning.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri talked about the epidemic of auto thefts by youth that continues in the county during a press conference Sunday morning near the scene of the crash.
Gualtieri went over the circumstances that led up to the fatal crash.
Deputies say the teens stole two cars from a vehicle lot earlier this week, a Ford Explorer and a Chrysler Sebring. About 1 a.m., deputies spotted a 2015 black Ford Explorer at State Road 580 and Belcher Road in Dunedin that had been stolen from a auto lot in Clearwater on August 3.
Shortly after, the cars were seen again on the road again playing what the sheriff described as a "cat and mouse game" where one auto slows and the other speeds up.
When a deputy attempted to stop the Ford Explorer on Tampa Road and Lake St. George Drive, the Explorer sped away at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. At a certain point, they set up a border to endeavor to get the high schoolers, however a representative recognized the vehicles outside of the edge. The deputy made a U-turn as he noticed the Sebring had decelerated behind him.
Four teenagers were inside - Keontae Brown, 16; Jimmie Goshey, 14; Dejarae Thomas, 16; and Keondrae Brown, 14.
Three teens in stolen vehicle die in Palm Harbor
Sheriff Gualtieri says the Explorer then went airborne and crashed into several cars in a vehicle lot.
The impact of the crash caused the Explorer to go airborne, hit several parked cars, roll multiple times and catch fire.
The driver hit by the Explorer endured minor wounds, the sheriff said.
Right before the crash, deputies say the Explorer sped up and the Sebring slowed down.
The stolen Sebring was later located in Clearwater and two juveniles were taken into custody. He said the teens involved in this incident were prolific offenders and were already being monitored by the Habitual Offender Monitoring Enforcement Unit. "It's a unsafe amusement", Gualtieri said Sunday.
Detectives are seeking assistance in identifying other vehicle or home burglaries that may have occurred in north Clearwater, East Lake, Safety Harbor and Palm Harbor that may be related to the teens.
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