A teenager is dead and his friend in critical condition after they stole a Maserati with the keys in the ignition after Hurricane Ian.
Florida officials announced on Sunday that 15-year-old Mario Bonilla died in a fire accident early in the morning after his friend Keondrick Lang, also 15, broke into an unlocked Maserati and crashed into the side of a car at high speed Building.
The luxury car then overturned in the collision, leaving her other friend, Malachi Daniels, 16, who was in the back seat, in critical condition.
Lang, meanwhile, is expected to survive while the Pinellas County Sheriffs Department continues to investigate the fatal crash.
They are expected to provide more information at another press conference on Tuesday, where they will release dashcam footage and helicopter footage of the fatal crash.
Keondrick Lang, 15, stole an unlocked Maserati which he crashed into the side of a building in St Petersburg early Sunday morning at 130 km/h
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Sunday that deputies in a helicopter saw the teens steal the Maserati around 3:20 a.m. as they drove over the area on their way to arrest another suspect.
MPs said Lang was using his shirt to pull on the door handles of cars parked in St. Petersburg to avoid leaving fingerprints when he discovered a Maserati left unlocked in a driveway.
After opening the car door, authorities said, Lang saw that the keys were still in it, and he and his friends jumped in the car.
“We talk about it all the time,” Gualtieri said. “People really need to lock their car doors and not leave their keys in the car, but they do.
“And when these kids are out in the middle of the night stealing cars and breaking into them, they’re looking for it.”
The deputies on the air then immediately contacted their colleagues on the ground, who tried to stop the youths before they escaped.
But Lang had already taken off, and ground units followed the car and switched on their emergency lights.
The teenager then apparently assumed the deputies would be after him and took off at 80 mph without his headlights on.
Unbeknownst to Lang, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has a policy not to engage in street chases, and they were then pursued by the helicopter, which tracked their movements from the air.
Deputies in the helicopter then watched as Lang lost control of the vehicle, went over a curb, collided with the side of a two-store building along 62nd Avenue, and overturned the luxury car.
“These are small children, they are inexperienced drivers, without a license, driving at 3:30 in the morning [at] 80 mph,” Gualtieri explained.
He said responding officers provided immediate assistance to the suspects, but Bonilla was pronounced dead at the scene.
Daniels, who was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, may not survive either, Gualtieri announced at his press conference.
And Lang was also transported to the hospital with serious injuries but is expected to survive.
The car owner has since been notified of the accident.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the boys’ parents were trying to set them on the right track
Authorities later found the three teenagers had been pulled over by Kenneth City lawmakers on September 11 after they were found walking through a residential neighborhood in the early hours of the morning.
At the time, FOX 13 reports, the children’s parents were called and the teenagers were taken home.
“These kids were on this bad path,” Gualtieri said at Sunday’s news conference.
He added that parents appeared distraught at the accident this morning and said they thought their children were still in bed at the time.
“One of the children shared a room with a younger sibling and from what I heard from MPs who spoke to the parents this morning, the younger sibling didn’t even know it had left,” Gualtieri said.
Parents had tried to correct their sons’ behavior, he noted, with one even recently transferring their boy to a nearby school for a fresh start.
“You have to sympathize with these parents because they know the problems you have with 15, 16-year-old kids. You try to do something about it, try to be aware of it, and the kid sneaks out.
“Sometimes bad things happen.”