Several teenagers have been involved in a deadly crash after allegedly stealing two cars.
Keontae Brown, 16, Jimmie Goshey, 14, and Dejarae Thomas, 16, died after reportedly racing a stolen car through a red light going 100mph. The teens then smashed into another car.
Keontae Brown’s younger brother Keondrae, 14, was also in the car but survived. But not before the vehicle was launched into the air, bursting into flames.
The horrific incident happened in Palm Harbor, Florida on Sunday morning.
Authorities say the three boys who died were allegedly playing a ‘cat-and-mouse’ game with Kamal Campbell, 18, and Deyon Kaigler, 16, who were in a second stolen car.
The three surviving boys were arrested and could face murder charges over their friends’ deaths.
Authorities revealed all the teenagers had a whopping 126 arrests between them.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says that he is “frustrated” with the city’s juvenile system after disclosing the teens’ extensive criminal record. The arrests includes several auto theft charges, reported the Tampa Bay Times.
Campbell, the eldest of the boys, had a total of 27 arrests dating back to 2013. Campbell charges include armed robbery, cocaine possession and grand theft.
Kaigler had 20 arrests, Thomas had 15, and Keontae Brown had 16 arrests.
Goshey and Keondrae Brown, the group’s youngest members at 14 years old, had 27 and 20 arrests, respectively.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Gualtieri said the county had ‘a serious problem and something else needs to happen.’
Keondrae Brown and Kaigler are being held at a juvenile center for a maximum of 21 days
Both teens are being accused of grand theft auto.
As Kamal Campbell is 18, he is being held at a jail on a $25,000 bond.
Police say six teens had been ‘running in tandem’ since they stole a Ford Explorer and a Chrysler Sebring on Thursday.
He called the three teens who died ‘prolific offenders’ and said the incident was ‘an unfortunate continuation of the epidemic of juveniles engaging in the deadly game of auto burglary and auto thefts’, WFLA reported.
Meanwhile Tina Webber, who is friends with 16-year-old Deyon Kaigler mother, says that his mom cautioned Deyon and Keontae Brown just last week.
Webber said to the Tampa Bay Times: ‘I looked them right in the eye and said, ‘Keep stealing cars, and you’re going to wind up dead or in prison.’
‘These kids are going to keep dying, whether they’re dying in a car or in prison. Because they’re young and dumb and don’t know nothing.’
The boys allegedly stole the two cars from an auto dealership on Missouri Avenue in Clearwater.
The cars were spotted at around 1am Sunday. When an officer approached, the teens drove away and the deputy did not pursue them.
The sheriff’s office explained that they do not pursue stolen vehicles.
Police eventually put up a perimeter, but were unable to find the stolen cars.
Officials claim that before the teens were spotted again at 4am, smoking marijuana before committing a string of burglaries. One of the boys was allegedly armed.
The stolen Explorer was going as fast as 100mph when it ran a red light and hit a car driven by 29-year-old Ricky Melendez at the intersection of US 19 and Tampa Road.
The stolen car then flew into the air, hit a billboard and rolled down the road before it burst into flames.
Melendez was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and is expected to make a full recovery, WTSP reported.
The stolen Sebring was not involved in the crash and drove away from the scene.
Campbell and Kaigler, the teens inside the Sebring, eventually abandoned the car and ran on foot.
They were later taken into police custody.
All three teens are expected to be charged, the Bradenton Herald reported.