On October 2, at 3:30 a.m. in unincorporated St. Petersburg, Florida, three teens allegedly stole an unlocked Maserati. Their subsequent flight from police quickly went vertical and turned deadly.
According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, deputies were already in the area of 2998 58th Avenue North, responding to an allegedly unrelated vehicle burglary in progress, when the department's helicopter Flight Unit spotted three additional suspects trying to break into vehicles.
The Flight Unit maintained visual contact of the suspects, and observed them approach a 2016 silver Maserati parked in a nearby driveway.
The PCSO stated that one of the suspects, later identified as 15-year-old Keondrick Lang, tried the driver's door and discovered it was unlocked with the keys inside. His compatriots, 16-year-old Malachi Daniels and 15-year-old Mario Bonilla, allegedly got into the vehicle with Lang.
Lang and Bonilla sat in the front while Daniels remained in the back seat of the car.
After idling in the driveway for just over a minute, the suspects proceeded to drive eastbound on 62nd Street North without headlights on.
Deputies on the ground initially attempted to stop the Maserati, but ultimately fell back in light of their department's strict non-pursuit policy for stolen vehicles.
Notwithstanding the wide berth afforded them by police, who had slowed to 30 mph and turned off their sirens, the suspects in the Maserati sped forward, hitting 123 mph. That speed was short-lived, however.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri noted in a press conference that "these were young kids ... inexperienced drivers, [with] no drivers' licenses."
At the high rate of speed, the Maserati began to fishtail. Lang reportedly lost control of the vehicle, and veered over the curb. The car momentarily went airborne, careened through a business sign, and landed upside down amidst debris and wreckage.
SHERIFF RELEASES FOOTAGE OF FATAL CRASH INVOLVING 3 TEENS IN STOLEN CAR youtu.be
Despite the best efforts of first responders who rushed to help, Bonilla was pronounced dead on the scene. Daniels and Lang were both rushed to hospital. Daniels, who suffered life-threatening injuries, is not expected to survive. Lang, who suffered critical injuries, is expected to live.
The PCSO reported that a black ski mask, firearm, and glove, were in possession of the suspects and recovered at the scene.
Gualtieri indicated that on September 11 at 4 a.m., the three teens were stopped by police in a nearby residential neighborhood. At the time, they were dressed in black hoodies with their faces covered. The sheriff said that on the basis of the officer's report and this latest incident, it seems as though "these kids were on that bad path."