Tampa police said the drivers of two cars were street racing prior to a crash on Sunday that killed two teens.
Two teens have been arrested on vehicular homicide charges in connection with the crash, which occurred near Port Tampa Bay.
“Street racing is not victimless, and it has serious consequences,” interim police Chief Lee Bercaw said in a news release Friday.
At about 10:42 p.m. Sunday, 18-year-old Savion Griggs was driving a black 2012 Kia Optima and 17-year-old Zi’yon Walter was driving a gray 2016 Hyundai Sonata. Both were speeding north on South 20th Street, police said. Officers said Walter was changing lanes and hit Griggs’ left rear fender. This caused the Kia to veer toward the east side of the road and into a chain-link fence near the intersection with Hemlock Street.
A 17-year-old and an 18-year-old who were both passengers in Griggs’ car were pronounced dead at the scene, officers said. A GoFundMe identifies one of the teens who died as Kenyon Roches. The crash occurred the same night as Roches’ high school graduation.
Griggs and Walter each face two counts of vehicular homicide. Walter also faces a charge of driving without a valid driver’s license.
Tampa Bay area law enforcement agencies have stepped up warnings about the dangers of street racing this year. In January, a 13-year-old boy was killed when he was hit by a motorcyclist at a St. Petersburg street racing event.
Authorities have been conducting sting operations to crack down on street racing. Hillsborough County officials arrested eight people during a March operation. Tampa police arrested 14 people while staking out street racing events on Gasparilla weekend.
St. Petersburg police promised to ramp up their response to street racing after the 13-year-old boy’s death. In April, the department announced 69 people were arrested in a sting that targeted an organized street racing event.