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Prolific car thief drove stolen Mercedes in deadly crash, St. Petersburg police say

The 19-year-old accused of causing a fatal Jan. 18 crash has been arrested repeatedly for auto theft — including 14 days before a 27-year-old woman was killed.
Keshawn Long, 19, faces charges of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death, leaving the scene of a crash involving injury, driving with a license suspended or revoked causing injury or death and auto theft, according to St. Petersburg police. [St. Petersburg Police Department]
Keshawn Long, 19, faces charges of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death, leaving the scene of a crash involving injury, driving with a license suspended or revoked causing injury or death and auto theft, according to St. Petersburg police. [St. Petersburg Police Department]
Published Feb. 7
Updated Feb. 7

ST. PETERSBURG — A 19-year-old man was arrested on his seventh charge of auto theft on Friday, and this one is his most serious allegation: He is accused of driving the stolen Mercedes that caused a fatal crash last month.

Keshawn Long faces charges of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death, leaving the scene of a crash involving injury, driving with a license suspended or revoked causing injury or death and auto theft.

Related: Stolen Mercedes kills woman in St. Pete collision; driver being sought

The new charges were added while Long sat in the Pinellas County jail. The St. Petersburg man was arrested on Jan. 31 on an unrelated auto theft charge. This is his fourth arrest on that charge in three months.

The fatal Jan. 18 crash took place just 14 days after Long was freed from jail on another auto theft charge, records show.

Records show Long has six previous arrests on auto theft charges dating back to age 14. His first arrest was in November 2015, and he was found guilty of that charge three times as a juvenile. He was arrested on Jan. 4 on that same charge and freed after posting $5,000 bail. None of his auto theft charges as an adult have been resolved yet.

St. Petersburg police said in a statement that he was arrested “thanks to tips from the public.”

Related: HOT WHEELS: Read the Tampa Bay Times investigation into Pinellas' juvenile auto theft epidemic.

The Jan. 18 crash took place at about 10:14 a.m. at the intersection of 40th Street S and Ninth Avenue S. A Chevrolet Malibu carrying two women was headed north on 40th Street S. Long was driving the stolen Mercedes west on Ninth Avenue S, police said.

He ran a stop sign at the intersection and crashed into the Chevrolet, police said.

Both people in the Malibu were injured, police said. The passenger, 27-year-old Saniya Daxon, died from her injuries at a hospital. Police said Long ran from the crash scene.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the St. Petersburg Police Department at (727) 893-7780. They can also send an anonymous text by typing “SPPD” and the information and sending it to TIP-411.

Related: A pedestrian killed. A sergeant injured. Stolen cars still haunt St. Petersburg.

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