MADEIRA BEACH — Authorities arrested three teens they say fled from Pinellas County sheriff's deputies after smashing into a mailbox and speeding through two beach towns Monday night.
The teenagers were in a 2006 Ford pickup that had been reported stolen from Pinellas Park, the Sheriff's Office said.
The incident began at 5:30 p.m. Monday when deputies were called to Redington Beach after a truck struck a mailbox at 105 161st Ave.
A sheriff's deputy spotted the truck and tried to pull it over, but it didn't stop.
Soon after, authorities got subsequent calls about a truck speeding in Madeira Beach. Deputies located it at Gulf Boulevard and Boca Ciega Drive.
Officials say when the driver, identified as 16-year-old Christopher Nhat Nguyen of Pinellas Park, spotted cruisers, he quickly turned the truck around, drove over a landscaped area and parked at a 7-Eleven at 13601 Gulf Blvd.
A deputy pulled close to the truck and tried to pin it in, but the teens reversed, hooking a piece of the cruiser and dragging it about 5 feet.
"It appears that when they realized they couldn't get away, they bailed," said sheriff's spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda.
Deputies quickly arrested Nguyen and passenger Rithysand Marvin Phoeuk, 15, of St. Petersburg. Osmany D. Aleman, 16, of Pinellas Park, who deputies say was spotted behind the wheel earlier, was found in a canal behind the 7-Eleven.
"There was a lot of excitement," said store owner Doug Andrews. "We just bought the store a week ago Friday. Welcome to the neighborhood."
Barreda said deputies also found items in the truck that didn't belong to the owner.
The teens, who records show are all on probation, face several charges, including auto theft, obstruction, driving with a suspended or revoked license and hit-and-run.
Times staff writer Anne Lindberg contributed to this report.