Commissioner visits site of St. Pete pond crash

Posted at 4:02 PM, May 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-03 16:57:52-04
Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch took to social media to say he visited the pond where three teens crashed and died to see if there was access into the water.
In a post, he said he wanted to see for himself if the water was accessible. In his view, it was not.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has said deputies were not able to go into the water because of dangerous conditions. There was backlash to the dash cam footage that was released, which led some to say deputies didn't even try to save the girls.

MORE | - Three teens dead after stolen car pulled from St. Pete pond

             - Lawyer questions details of St. Pete pond crash

             - More video evidence released in St. Pete pond crash

The girls are accused of stealing a car and running from police several times before crashing into the St. Petersburg pond. 
The families have hired a lawyer and are calling for a new investigation into the crash. 
Commissioner Welch said he felt he had to see for himself. You can see the full video here.
Here is the statement posted along with the video:
I am very sorry for the loss of Dominique Battle, Ashaunti Butler and LaNiya Miller and pray for their families. Last year, we we lost three of my family members - India, Ty and Lamour. No matter how good or imperfect any of us are (or think we are), the sudden and violent loss of a young family member is traumatic for loved ones. We should remember that in our dialogue, and respect the grieving process that the families are going through.
That being said, making positive change in our community must be based on truth and facts. We will have many more conversations and actions to address this and other issues in our community. But given the escalating rhetoric on this incident and the Sheriff Deputies response that night, I thought that I would visit the accident site and see for myself if the water was accessible. In my view, it is not. The video below shows me sinking into the muck on my first step. I am open to any other information or evidence, but unsupported rhetoric and accusations will not move us forward, nor heal the destructive trends that are at work in our community. The only way to move forward is together, and on a foundation of truth and justice - for all.