Wild video shows a Maserati stolen by three teenagers hit 123 mph before it goes airborne and plows through a store sign in a Florida crash that killed one passenger and left the others injured.
The teens – none who were licensed to drive – were trying to shake Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies after they stole the unlocked 2016 sports car in St. Petersburg early Sunday, unaware they were being tracked by a police helicopter above.
When two police SUVs tried to pull over the stolen car around 3:20 a.m., 15-year-old driver Keondrick Lang put the pedal to the metal – leading a sergeant to order the deputies to “back off,” helicopter footage released Tuesday shows.
“And then the driver of the car… he punches it,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told reporters, according to a live stream of the
conference. “And as he’s punching it and he takes off, the deputies immediately turn off their overheads, the sergeant got on radio and told them to disengage which they did immediately.”
The deputies drop to as low as 35 mph but the Maserati accelerates to a blinding speed that the young driver couldn’t handle. Within a few blocks the Maserati fishtails, jumps a curb and is sent flying like a missile into a business sign, the video shows.
Debris from the sign and the car spray outward as the car flips, eventually coming to rest upside down with its frame bent down the middle, according to the video.
Mario Bonilla, a 15-year-old riding in the front passenger seat, died at the crash scene. Driver Lang and 16-year-old Malachi Daniels were both hospitalized, with Lang left clinging to life after the crash, Gualtieri said.
Police later found a 25-caliber semiautomatic gun in the car, which is believed to be a “crime gun” that has been sold and resold on the streets since its last official documentation in 1968, the sheriff said.
“None of them had any criminal histories but what appears clear is is that these kids were out doing a whole bunch of bad things — they just hadn’t been caught,” Gualtieri said.
The theft and chase were caught on helicopter video by chance, cops said. Police had responded to another robbery in the area and deployed the chopper and deputies before the helicopter noticed the three teens acting suspiciously in the quiet neighborhood, the sheriff said.
The three had apparently snuck out of their parents’ homes overnight Saturday into Sunday, according to police.
The video shows Lang use a glove to open the door to the Maserati, which is parked in a driveway near the street. The others hop in the vehicle, which Lang drives over a grass patch on to 62nd Avenue with its headlights off, the video shows.
The deputies are in pursuit within a minute and a half, and the car crashes 19 seconds after police disengage in the chase, according to cops and the video.
Charges are pending, but the sheriff said Lang could face a third-degree felony murder charge which is applicable when someone is killed while a felony is being committed.