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Three victims in fatal Tampa pursuit crash were teen girls, police say

A male passenger, 18, was also killed in the Wednesday crash. The driver, 19, was critically injured and may face criminal charges if he survives, police said.
A wrecker leaves the scene carrying a Nissan Altima that crashed on West Cypress Street in Tampa early Wednesday. Tampa police say six people were in the stolen car when the driver fled from an attempted traffic stop and crashed a couple of minutes later. Four people inside the sedan, including three juvenile girls, were killed and two others were injured, police said.
A wrecker leaves the scene carrying a Nissan Altima that crashed on West Cypress Street in Tampa early Wednesday. Tampa police say six people were in the stolen car when the driver fled from an attempted traffic stop and crashed a couple of minutes later. Four people inside the sedan, including three juvenile girls, were killed and two others were injured, police said. [ TONY MARRERO | Tony Marrero ]
Published Jun. 4, 2020
Updated Jun. 5, 2020

TAMPA — Three of four people killed in a violent crash during a police pursuit early Wednesday were girls ages 15, 16 and 17, police said Thursday.

The crash happened on West Cypress Street as officers pursued a stolen Nissan Altima, according to information previously released by the Tampa Police Department.

There were six people in the car at the time. The three teen girls and an 18-year-old male passenger were killed, police spokesman Eddy Durkin said Thursday. A 20-year-old male passenger was treated and released from the hospital.

The driver, an 19-year-old male, was critically injured and remains in the hospital. He likely will face criminal charges if he survives, Durkin said. Police have not yet released his name.

Because of the possible criminal case, the department is not releasing the names of the passengers, Durkin said. The department’s policy is to withhold names of crime victims because of its interpretation of Marsy’s Law, a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2018. The law is meant to protect crime victims, but it deprives the public of information that had long been made available in Florida under the state’s public records law.

Officers spotted the Altima about 2:40 a.m. near N Dale Mabry Highway and W Kennedy Boulevard. Police say the car had been stolen, so officers tried to conduct a traffic stop.

Instead, police say, the driver sped away. In less than two minutes, according to police, the Altima made it to W Cypress Boulevard near Reo Street, more than two miles away. There, the sedan crashed, slamming into at least one tree on the north side of the road, across from Cypress Point Park.

Officers pulled two people from the wreckage and rendered aid until paramedics arrived and took them to the hospital.

The other four occupants died at the scene.

Durkin said a preliminary review has found the officers involved complied with department policy. The policy allows for vehicle pursuit when an officer “reasonably believes that someone in the pursued vehicle has committed or attempted to commit” any forcible felony or burglary of a structure or conveyance.