NewsPinellas County


St. Petersburg teens seriously hurt after crashing stolen car

Posted at 7:23 PM, Nov 20, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG - Gloria McNeal was there when two teens crashed into the tree in front of her relative's home.

"I do believe this tree saved that car from coming into my grandmother's property," McNeal said. "And she just came home from rehab with a stroke so she couldn't move if she had to move."

The tree stopped the two teens in a stolen Chevy Camaro out for a joyride late Sunday evening putting them both in the hospital with serious injuries. Police say the 15-year-old passenger has life threatening injuries.

"I think that some of the parents need to get a grip on supporting these children because there's no way that your 14, 15-year-old child comes home with a car, and you know it's not their car but you allow them to leave with the car," said McNeal.

St. Pete's Police Chief says the problem is state wide.

"It's only a matter of time before an innocent person is struck by one of these cars," said St. Pete Police Chief Anthony Holloway.

Youngsters are stealing cars just for fun.

"These kids at a young age are finding out that people are either leaving their keys in their cars or leaving their cars running and it's a game," said Chief Holloway.

Every week in St. Pete on average around 12 cars are stolen. 60 percent of those are unlocked, have keys inside or the engines are still on.

Even though St. Pete Police publishes weekly info on social media, it's still a shock how young the suspects can be.

"I didn't know they were actually babies. To me, 14, 15 years old, that's a baby. That's a child," said McNeal.