An illicit early morning joy ride ended in tragedy Sunday in Southwest Florida, an area still reeling from Hurricane Ian.
In a news briefing, in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said that three teen boys checking for unlocked cars, found a Maserati with the keys inside in a driveway, and took off.
Deputies in a patrolling chopper investigating an unrelated burglary nearby spotted the teens from above as they were entering the high-end Italian performance vehicle. They alerted a crew on the ground to a possible “theft-in-progress,” according to a release.
As police approached the Maserati, the teens took off speeding “over 80 mph” and without headlights.
The 15-year-old who was driving lost control of the vehicle, “fish tailed,” careened over a curb, hit a business sign and flipped.
Responding deputies immediately gave medical aid to the suspects.
A 15-year-old sitting in the front passenger seat died at the scene. The 16-year-old passenger in the back seat had “life-threatening injuries” and was not expected to survive, the sheriff said. The driver is recovering at a hospital.
“These kids were on that bad path,”said Gualtieri calling the incident a “crime of opportunity.”
“This is what happens when you’re an inexperienced driver, you’re out at 3:30 in the morning, driving at 80 mph and you lose it,” he said.