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Police ID teen driver in St. Pete Beach auto crash

ST. PETE BEACH — Shawn Guizzotti, the 17-year-old still hospitalized after he was ejected from a Ford Taurus during an early-morning car crash April 25, was behind the wheel with three teen passengers at nearly 70 mph, police said Tuesday.

Police have asked prosecutors to subpoena the medical records of all four teens in the car to determine whether they were drinking or using drugs before the crash.

That will help determine whether car owner Rachel Bolinder, 33, the mother 15-year-old passenger Megan Ault, could be charged in connection with the crash, police said.

Police identified the four teens as Guizzotti; Ault; Ronald Wade Linderholm Jr., 16; and Michael Cannon, 15. Linderholm was later arrested on unrelated charges.

Using a surveillance tape from the nearby Don CeSar Beach Resort and Spa, police determined that Guizzotti was driving about 70 mph in a 35 mph zone moments before the car jumped a curb, cleaved a palm tree, went airborne over a yard, ripped the top off an ornamental brick well and landed upside down at 30th Avenue.

No one in the car was wearing a seat belt, police officer Brett Schambach said. Physical evidence and witness statements put Guizzotti behind the wheel, Schambach said. Among other things, the driver’s door was gone, and Guizzotti was the only one thrown from the vehicle.

Ault is Guizzotti’s girlfriend, Schambach said, and “she would have no reason to put him behind the wheel if he wasn’t. And he could not have been ejected unless that door was missing.”

Police are still trying to piece together what happened before the crash. Bolinder told the St. Petersburg Times she and the four teens met two strangers at the beach and spent the evening at their house “hanging out.” She said she had two sips of alcohol about midnight before gathering the group to leave about 4:30 a.m. She ordered Linderholm from the car, she said, when he “bugged” her about driving and said the teens took the vehicle after she stopped at the strangers’ house to use a bathroom.

Schambach said witnesses identified one of the strangers as Alexander John Mattie, 39, who lives less than a block from the accident scene. But Mattie said he “has some personal issues” that have prevented him from being questioned, Schambach said.

Police ID teen driver in St. Pete Beach auto crash 05/19/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 12:39am]
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