A group of teenagers were suspected of stealing an unlocked Maserati and driving off, police said.
As they sped off at about 80 mph, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed, totaling the car.
One teen is dead, another is hospitalized and is "not expected to make it," and a third is in critical condition, police said.
A 15-year-old is dead after a group of teenagers stole an unlocked Maserati and took it for a high-speed drive that ended in a violent crash, Florida police said.
At around 3:30 am on Sunday, 15-year-old Keondrick Lang, 15-year-old Mario Bonilla, and 16-year-old Malachi Daniels were trolling for unlocked cars in a Saint Petersburg neighborhood when they came upon the unlocked Maserati that had the keys inside, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said at a press conference.
Gualtieri said Lang had been "stealthfully" pulling on car door handles with his shirt so as to not leave fingerprints. When the teens discovered the luxury car had its keys inside, they jumped in with Lang driving, Bonilla in the front passenger seat, and Daniels in the back, Gualtieri said at the press conference.
Officers spotted the teens from a helicopter that had been investigating a different case and alerted deputies on the ground to a possible vehicle theft, according to the sheriff's office.
Though the sheriff's office said it has a policy against engaging in chases, the teens had spotted the officers and took off in the vehicle with no lights on as if they were being chased, according to Fox 13 News.
"Patrol deputies on the ground attempted to stop the vehicle, however the vehicle accelerated and reached a speed of over 80 miles per hour. Deputies did not pursue the vehicle," the sheriff's office said in a press release.
"These are young kids," Gualtieri said at the press conference. "They're inexperienced drivers, no drivers licenses, driving at 3:30 in the morning, 80 mph, and the car starts fishtailing all over the road. He had no control over the car at that point."
Lang "lost control of the vehicle" and "drove over a curb, hit the business sign, and the vehicle flipped," according to the press release.
Responding deputies rendered aid, but Bonilla was pronounced dead on the scene, police said. Daniels was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and is "not expected to make it," and Lang was hospitalized with critical but "not life-threatening" injuries, Gualtieri said.
The sheriff added that the teens did not have extensive criminal histories, but they had previously been stopped together by Kenneth City police while they were walking through a neighborhood "at 4 am, all wearing black hoodies, faces covered, walking through a residential area," Gualtieri said. At the time of that incident in September, police took down the teens' information and called their parents.
"These kids were on that bad path, and what we see with these kids time and again is they're out in the middle of the night, they're looking for cars to break into, they're looking for cars to steal, and these are crimes of opportunity," Gualtieri said. "They're looking for unlocked cars and cars that have the keys in them, and that's what they found here."
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