PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Two of the three teens involved in a deadly stolen car crash in Pinellas County are expected to survive, according to an update from authorities.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri gave an update Tuesday on the deadly crash that claimed the life of a 15-year-old boy early Sunday morning.
Gualtieri began the event by recapping the moments that lead up to the deadly crash involving a stolen Maserati sports car.
The sheriff said the incident began when deputies were responding to an unrelated burglary call in a residential neighborhood. As a sheriff’s office helicopter flew overhead, the pilot spotted three teens walking away in a suspicious manner.
As the pilot asked for ground units to investigate the teens, they were spotted getting into a Maserati. Gualtieri said one teen used his shirt to open the car door in an attempt to conceal his fingerprints from transferring to the car.
Less than two minutes later, the car pulled onto the road with the lights off and headed east on 62nd Avenue North.
The sheriff’s office aerial unit continued to follow the car from above until ground units could attempt a traffic stop.
When two police cruisers approached the Maserati from behind, the 15-year-old driver hit the gas, accelerating the sports car to 123 mph, Gualtieri said.
“As [the driver] punches it, the deputies immediately turn off their overheads, the sergeant got on the radio and told them to disengage, which they did immediately.”
Seconds later, the teen driver lost control, hit a curb, and flipped into the air, landing the car on its roof.
“At five seconds before the crash, that Maserati was going 123 mph,” Gualtieri added.
Authorities said the front seat passenger died at the scene of the crash. He was identified as 15-year-old Mario Bonilla.
The backseat passenger, a 16-year-old boy, suffered life-threatening injuries. The 15-year-old driver suffered critical but non-life-threatening injuries. Both are expected to survive.
When deputies pulled the driver from the car, they found a .25 caliber semi-auto handgun on the front seat of car. Authorities said the gun did not belong to the owner of the stolen vehicle.
The last record of the firearm showed it was registered to a business in Largo in the year 1968.
“My guess, it’s probably been stolen several times, sold on the street several times, and it’s what we call a crime gun,” Gualtieri said.
Deputies also found a glove and a facemask in the crashed car.
The teen’s parents told authorities the boys were supposed to be home at the time but snuck out without their parent’s knowledge.
Gualtieri added the minors did not have a criminal history but were stopped by police in September when they were spotted entering a residential area at 4 a.m. while wearing black clothes and face coverings.
While the incident was documented, the teens were ultimately released to their parents.