TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor says four teens involved in a deadly crash while driving a stolen car are already out of custody and back home.
The new police chief held a news conference Monday to condemn the actions of the teens involved in the deadly crash that started with a high-speed pursuit. It happened around 11:15 p.m. Saturday on Turkey Creek Road in Plant City.
O’Connor says one of her officers spotted a stolen car that night and started a pursuit. According to police, a 12-year-old boy, two 14-year-old boys and a 15-year-old boy tried to escape the officer.
“There are still a lot of unanswered questions but what we do know is that the officer began pursuing this vehicle because he recognized it as a stolen vehicle that was used to commit at least one auto burglary,” O’Connor said Monday.
During the chase, police say the teens ended up rear-ending a Honda, knocking it into a utility pole. A 44-year-old woman was killed in the crash.
“This is no video game,” O’Connor said. “This is real life, with real lives at stake, and this time, these juveniles’ actions cost an innocent person their life.”
Two others in the Honda, a 30-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman, survived. The man is stable, but the woman remains in critical condition, according to police.
O’Connor voiced her frustration on Monday, saying two of the teenagers involved in Saturday’s crash were arrested just days earlier for allegedly stealing and burglarizing a vehicle, and were put on home detention.
“Two of the teens in the stolen vehicle were arrested just five days prior for the exact same crime,” O’Connor said.
The chief asked the community to help keep Tampa’s youth from entering into a life of crime.
“We need parents, the community and the faith-based community to help us with this,” she said.