Pinellas teens’ deaths in stolen SUV captured on camera


PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – At more than 100 mph, security camera video shows the exact moment a stolen SUV careened out of control, killing three teens.

The Pinellas County Sheriff said this crash is a symptom of an epidemic with no end in sight, a vicious cycle of young people thumbing their nose at the criminal justice system.

Video from a Thorton’s security camera shows a woman pumping gas at 4:30 a.m. Sunday. A stolen Ford Explorer bursts into an orange glow of fire.

Again, from a Ferrari dealership, cameras caught the SUV rolling into a twisted heap.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said driver Keontae Brown, 16, hit another car, slammed into five cars at a dealership and hit a billboard pole 10 feet above the ground.Related: Innocent driver hit by teen who crashed stolen car in Palm Harbor says he’s lucky to be alive

Dashcam video shows a deputy trying to put out the flames.

Leontae died. So did Dejarae Thomas and Jimmie Goshey. Passenger Keondrae Brown survived.

Deputies arrested two other teens in a stolen Sebring.

Kamal Campbell appeared in court.

“The juvenile justice system is not working,” declared Gualtieri.

He said the teens had been doing what they’ve done many times before, stealing stuff.

“There’s no fear of consequence, and there is not fear of consequence, you end up with kids 14, 15, 16 years old, that get arrested 126 times,” he said.

Crash survivor, Ricky Melendez is sad to hear of the teens’ deaths. He said he’s hurting in many places.

“I’m smiling because I’m breathing. I’m alive,” he said.

Nursing a shattered collar bone and ankle, Melendez’s engine disappeared in the impact.

“I was going through this green light at Tampa Road and all of a sudden out of nowhere, I just got hit and I just remember a loud bang,” said Melendez.

Despite his 27 arrests, Jimmie Goshey’s step-mom claims the teen had high hopes to play for the Miami Dolphins.

“He’s a good kid. Ya know, just, just ended up getting around the wrong crowd of people. Following the wrong people,” said Renee Goshey.

Gualtieri said the six teens spent their morning checking car door handles in Safety Harbor and Eastlake Woodlands.

The teens may be charged with first-degree murder.

Follow Peter Bernard on Facebook


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