Shocking video shows the final moments of a police car chase in Florida as officers chased a stolen Maserati at speed before it crashed and flipped through the air at 123km/h, killing one of the male teenage passengers, with another man who is now unlikely to survive.
The teenage driver, 15-year-old Keondrick Lang, assumed deputies were going to chase him and sped off at 80 mph without his headlights on.
But the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has a policy of not participating in roadway chases, and instead was pursued by the department’s helicopter, which tracked their movements from the air.
Pinellas County Sheriff has seen three teenagers in a quiet neighborhood, where one used a glove to unlock a car
Within 90 seconds of the car being stolen, Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies pursued
Deputies in the copter then watched as the driver lost control of the vehicle, drove over a curb, collided with a business sign along 62nd Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida, and flipped the luxury sports car.
Neither teenager was licensed to drive the 2016 sports car, which had been left unlocked in St. Petersburg early Sunday morning.
The chase began after the police stopped the stolen car at 3:20 a.m., but when Lang put the gas pedal down on the vehicle, a sergeant ordered the deputies to “back up” so the helicopter could monitor from above.
The Maserati car reached speeds of up to 123 km/h, after which the pursuing police were told to ‘reverse’
The car was left to speed away with no lights on, just after 3am on Sunday morning
The car’s force overwhelmed the teenage driver and he began to fishtail
The trailing police cars slowed down to around 35 mph, while Lang was unable to handle the power and performance of the Maserati, which can reach 0-60 mph in under 2.9 seconds. Lang was in triple digits within seconds.
Within just a few short blocks, the Maserati’s rear end begins to fishtail, sending the car soaring into a business sign.
Metal, glass and plastic debris from the sign and the car are scattered across the parking lot like confetti, where the car came to rest on its roof.
Mario Bonilla, 15, who was in the front passenger seat, died on impact, while Lang and 16-year-old Malachi Daniels were both taken to the hospital. Daniels is said to be in critical condition, while Lang has non-life threatening injuries.
Police later found a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun in the car.
The car flew through the air and crashed into a company street sign
The vehicle came to rest upside down, killing one of the three occupants and leaving the other two seriously injured
The car’s frame was completely bent out of shape, such was the impact
The car can be seen to have been tipped back onto its wheels during recovery
“None of the teenagers had any criminal history, but what seems to be clear is that these kids were out doing a whole lot of bad things – they just hadn’t been caught,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
The car chase was only caught on helicopter camera by chance after the aircraft had been deployed to a nearby robbery in the area.
That’s when the three teenagers, who had snuck out of their parents’ home, were seen behaving suspiciously.
Lang opened the door of the unlocked car with a gloved hand to find that the keys were still in the ignition. Police were able to give chase within 90 seconds of the car being stolen.
Keondrick Lang, 15, stole the unlocked Maserati, which he crashed at 123 mph into the side of a building in St. Petersburg early Sunday morning
The mangled remains of the supercar can be seen overturned in the parking lot after the fatal crash
The accident happened next to a two-business building along 62nd Avenue (pictured)
“We talk about it all the time,” Gualtieri said. ‘People really need to lock their car doors and don’t leave your keys in the car, but they do.
‘And when these kids are out in the middle of the night and they’re stealing and breaking into cars, that’s what they’re looking for.’
The deputies in the air then immediately contacted their colleagues on the ground, who tried to stop the teenagers before they got away.
Lang took off with ground units after the car and turned on their emergency lights.
“These are young children, they are inexperienced drivers, no driver’s license, they drive at 3.30 in the morning [at] 80 mph,’ Gualtieri explained.
He said responding officers immediately rendered aid to the suspects, but Bonilla was pronounced dead at the scene.
Daniels, who was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, may not survive, Gualtieri announced at his news conference.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the boys’ parents tried to get them on the right track
Authorities later learned that the three teenagers had been stopped by deputies in Kenneth City on Sept. 11 after they were found walking through a residential neighborhood in the early morning hours.
At the time, Fox 13 reports, the children’s parents were called and the teenagers were returned home.
“These kids were on the wrong path,” Gualtieri said at the press conference.
He added that the parents appeared distraught over the crash and said they had thought their children were still in bed at the time.
“One of the kids was sharing a room with a younger sibling, and from what I understand from the deputies who talked to the parents this morning, the younger sibling didn’t even know he was leaving,” Gualtieri said.
The 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 empathize with these parents because they know the problems you have with 15, 16-year-old children. They try to do something about it, try to pay attention to it, and the child sneaks out.
‘Sometimes bad things will happen.’