With Weekend Crash, Pinellas County’s Car Theft Problem Turns Deadly

In Pinellas County, teenage auto theft has become somewhat of an epidemic. According to the Tampa Bay Times, there were 499 juvenile arrests for auto theft in Pinellas in 2015, more than any other part of Florida. Many car thieves are not old enough to legally drive. Some are as young as 10 and 13, still unable to reach the brakes or see over the wheel. Juvenile car theft is also associated with a host of other reckless behaviors, including speeding, racing, and filming while driving. Because of these factors, young car thieves are not just endangering themselves, but everyone on the roads.

Deadly Incidents

In 2016, a car theft took a deadly turn. While fleeing from police, three teenage girls died after plunging their stolen vehicle into a retention pond in St. Petersburg. Amid the controversy of that fatal accident, many wondered if Pinellas was doing enough to prevent it from happening again. That controversy is likely to arise again, following a fatal crash this weekend in Palm Harbor.

The accident occurred around 4:30 AM on Sunday on Tampa Road. It involved two stolen vehicles, both from a dealership in Clearwater. The cars were driven by two groups of teens, traveling at speeds of over 100 MPH. One of the vehicles, with four teenage boys inside, ran a red light and hit another vehicle. Their stolen car went airbone, then flipped and rolled, before catching on fire. Three of the stolen car’s teenage occupants died at the scene. A fourth remains hospitalized. Two teens in the other stolen vehicle now face charges. In one moment, so many lives changed forever, in an accident that was potentially preventable.

Can Car Theft Accidents Be Prevented?

No matter the circumstances, the deaths of these young men is a tragic incident. While car theft has been an issue for a while now, hopefully this accident prompts a serious discussion about how to prevent more lives from being senselessly lost.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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