Teens found a Maserati with the keys inside. Then came tragedy, Florida deputies say

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

An illicit early morning joy ride ended in tragedy Sunday in Southwest Florida, an area still reeling from Hurricane Ian.

In a news briefing, in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said that three teen boys checking for unlocked cars, found a Maserati with the keys inside in a driveway, and took off.

Deputies in a patrolling chopper investigating an unrelated burglary nearby spotted the teens from above as they were entering the high-end Italian performance vehicle. They alerted a crew on the ground to a possible “theft-in-progress,” according to a release.

As police approached the Maserati, the teens took off speeding “over 80 mph” and without headlights.

The 15-year-old who was driving lost control of the vehicle, “fish tailed,” careened over a curb, hit a business sign and flipped.

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Responding deputies immediately gave medical aid to the suspects.

A 15-year-old sitting in the front passenger seat died at the scene. The 16-year-old passenger in the back seat had “life-threatening injuries” and was not expected to survive, the sheriff said. The driver is recovering at a hospital.

“These kids were on that bad path,”said Gualtieri calling the incident a “crime of opportunity.”

“This is what happens when you’re an inexperienced driver, you’re out at 3:30 in the morning, driving at 80 mph and you lose it,” he said.