A teen who was driving a stolen Maserati early Sunday morning reached a top speed of 123 mph before the car crashed and killed one of his passengers, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office reported Tuesday.
The speed was just one piece of new information the agency released on Tuesday. The Sheriff’s Office also released dashcam and helicopter footage of the incident.
Around 3:20 a.m. Sunday, a Pinellas Sheriff’s helicopter pilot alerted deputies on the ground that three teens walking along 62nd Avenue N had gotten into an unlocked 2016 silver Maserati near the intersection of 25th Street N. The keys had been left inside the car. Deputies drove behind and alongside the teens before turning on their emergency lights, sheriff’s officials said.
The driver hit the gas shortly after, and a sergeant told the deputies not to pursue. The teens reached speeds of 123 mph, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said, before the Maserati went airborne and crashed into a sign near 10th Street N and 62nd Avenue.
One of the passengers, a 15-year-old boy, died at the scene. The other passenger, a 16-year-old boy, was seriously injured but has been stabilized, Gualtieri said Tuesday. The 15-year-old boy who was driving the stolen car remained in critical condition Tuesday.
Deputies found a .25-caliber, semi-automatic handgun in the Maserati that did not belong to the car’s owner, the sheriff said.
The sheriff also said the two surviving teens could face criminal charges, including grand theft auto. The driver could also face a third-degree felony murder charge, Gualtieri said.
The Tampa Bay Times is not naming the children because of their ages and because no charges have yet been filed.
One of the teens had recently transferred high schools to help keep him out of trouble, Gualtieri said. The night of the crash, the teens’ parents believed they were at home in bed.
“These parents were trying to do the right thing,” Gualtieri said.
Juvenile auto thefts have long been an issue in the Tampa Bay area. In 2017, the Tampa Bay Times tracked over 500 auto thefts, finding that many of the stolen cars had been left unlocked and that teens often only faced minor penalties when caught because of how the crimes were classified.
Gualtieri said auto thefts remain a problem, but they have gone down. He said a burglary prevention program and changes in how long juveniles can be detained have helped address the issue.
“I think we see changes in the law, changes in how we police, efforts to kind of curtail this — I think it’s a combination of things,” he said.