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Teen cuts crashes stolen car into Clearwater home, deputies say

A 16-year-old boy stole a Kia Soul from a family member, lost control and crashed into a parked car and the garage area of a home along Eastfield Drive in Clearwater on Thursday night, deputies said. [Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office]
Published Mar. 8

CLEARWATER — A 16-year-old boy was arrested late Thursday after he stole a family member's car, crashed into a house and then fled the scene, deputies said.

Deputies were called to 1354 Eastfield Drive about 11:35 p.m. after a 2015 Kia Soul crashed into the garage area of the home, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Witnesses told deputies a number of juveniles fled from the scene.

K-9 and flight-unit deputies found the 16-year-old driver and his 13-year-old passenger near the scene. The Tampa Bay Times is not naming the driver because he is a juvenile. The passenger was not charged.

A Times investigation: Kids are driving Pinellas County's car theft epidemic

Deputies say the driver, who lives on Betty Lane in Clearwater, took the Soul from a family member without permission and was driving on Eastfield Drive when he lost control and crashed into a mailbox, parked car and then the house, causing significant property damage, the Sheriff's Office said.

The driver and passenger were taken to a local hospital to be treated for injuries that deputies said were not life-threatening.

No one in the home was injured.

Deputies charged the driver with grand theft auto, leaving the scene of a crash with injury and violating probation. He will be taken to the Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center after his release from the hospital.

The driver was already on felony probation for grand theft auto at the time of the crash. The Sheriff's Office initially reported that the teen was being monitored by the Habitual Offender Monitoring Enforcement program, a task force aimed at reducing teen crime, and cut off his GPS ankle monitor hours before the crash. Later Friday, the agency released a correction stating the teen had the monitor removed Thursday after he successfully completed a 30-day sanction period.

Contact Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

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