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The kids: Six teens involved in stolen car crash have troubled histories

Memorial from a Facebook page for the three teens killed when the stolen SUV they were in crashed violently in Palm Harbor early Sunday morning. Clockwise from top left; Dejarae Thomas, 16, Keontae Brown, 16, and Jimmie Goshey, 14.
Published Aug. 7, 2017

All six teen boys involved in the stolen car crash that killed three of them on Sunday morning had extensive criminal histories, according to state records.

The four boys in a stolen Ford Explorer that crashed were playing a "cat and mouse" game with two other boys in a stolen Chrysler Sebring, authorities said.

They all attended high schools in Clearwater or Dunedin, a schools spokeswoman said.

UPDATE: Three boys dead after fiery crash in stolen SUV.

DIED AT THE SCENE

Keontae Brown, 16

On July 31, Keontae posted to his Facebook page that he had just gotten home from a juvenile center. Soon he was posting more about his girlfriend, about going back to school, about how many people he had kissed this year. He was a rising freshman at Clearwater High School, according to a school system spokeswoman.

Keontae, who was in the Ford Explorer, had been arrested several times on charges ranging from loitering to auto theft, Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show. He frequently violated his probation.

His father, Adontai, said Keontae lived with his mother in Clearwater.

"He was doing something he shouldn't have did. I admit that — I'm not going to sit around here and sugarcoat and say he's the best kid in the world," his father said. "He had his problems, he did stuff that he wasn't supposed to do, (but) he's still a kid. He's still a child."

HOT WHEELS: How kids are driving Pinelllas County's car-theft epidemic.

Jimmie Goshey, 14

Jimmie was first arrested more than two years ago, according to FDLE records, and since then he had racked up several more charges including battery, burglary and criminal mischief.

He played football growing up and once dreamed of playing professionally, his cousin, Aja Jenkins said. Jimmie "had a good heart," according to his cousin, but "fell into the wrong crowd."

Jimmie, who was in the Explorer, was going to start ninth grade at Clearwater High School this month.

Dejarae Thomas, 16

In late July, Dejarae updated his profile page on Facebook with a picture of him beaming, proudly showing off rows of gold teeth. He was set to attend Clearwater High School this year.

His criminal record was long, according the FDLE. On July 27, the records show, he picked up his most recent charge: grand theft auto.

Joellen Waller, a member of Calvary Church on Drew Street, said Dejarae was more than just a rap sheet. She said he attended a youth group and often visited her house.

He never stole anything, she said. If he wanted change that was sitting on the counter, he would ask her if he could take some.

"They're just 15-year-old kids," Waller said through tears. "Not murderers."

Dejarae was in the Explorer.

INJURED

Keondrae Brown, 14

Keondrae is the half-brother of Keontae Brown, who was killed in the crash. Keondrae was the only survivor in the Explorer on Sunday, and he was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg for treatment.

He is a student at Calvin A. Hunsinger, an alternative school in Clearwater.

Keondrae has had several run-ins with the law, including arrests on charges of burglary, resisting an officer without violence and several probation violations.

UNHURT

Deyon Kaigler, 16

Deyon is a student at Calvin A. Hunsinger School who works at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Dunedin. He and his mother spoke about teens stealing cars with the Tampa Bay Times earlier this year. He vowed then that he was done with the crime and the dangerous driving it involved.

Sunday, he was arrested as one of two boys in the stolen Chrysler Sebring that was speeding next to the Explorer before the crash, authorities said.

Deyon has a history of arrests, which includes charges of grand theft auto and burglary. Once, he said, he stole his mom's car and went to Clearwater Beach with his friends.

His mother, Demetria Coley, said she has begged the justice system to do more to help her and give her son real consequences.

Deyon had stayed out of trouble for about a year, she said. State records showed that he had not been arrested for almost a year until he picked up a new auto theft charge in early July. He faces another auto theft charge in connection to Sunday's incident.

"They just took his leg monitor off him maybe four days, five days ago," Coley said Sunday. "As soon as that came off that's what happens."

Kamal Campbell, 18

Kamal is a student at Dunedin High School. His criminal record includes charges of robbery with a firearm and vehicle theft, according to state records, which indicate that he lives in Clearwater.

He was arrested alongside Deyon in the stolen Chrysler Sebring spotted speeding with the Explorer on Sunday.

He faces charges of auto theft and resisting an officer without violence

Compiled by Times Staff Writers Laura C. Morel, Zachary T. Sampson, Melissa Gomez, Chris Bowling and Lisa Gartner.

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