Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teen in stolen car hits three trees but escapes violent wreck in Clearwater

A 16-year-old boy crashed a stolen Nissan Maxima in Clearwater. [Photo courtesy Clearwater Police Department]

A 16-year-old boy crashed a stolen Nissan Maxima in Clearwater. [Photo courtesy Clearwater Police Department]

CLEARWATER — A 16-year-old boy fleeing police Thursday crashed a stolen car on Park Place Boulevard, caroming between trees before pulling himself from the mangled vehicle and running.

The boy faces charges including grand theft auto and fleeing and eluding. The Times is not naming him because of his age.

THE SERIES: Click here to read the complete "Hot Wheels" series

He stole the Nissan Maxima from Largo, where it was left unlocked with the keys inside, according to Clearwater police. The crash sent a wheel flying and sheared off the front left portion of the car, but police said the boy suffered only minor injuries. He was caught near the scene and taken to Mease Countryside Hospital.

In a post to its Facebook page, the Clearwater Police Department wrote: "He is quite lucky to be alive, given the extensive damage to the car."

Local law enforcement leaders have labeled juvenile auto theft an epidemic in Pinellas County. The Tampa Bay Times, in an unprecedented analysis, showed in April that children here crash a stolen car on average at least once every four days. In 2015, police in Pinellas made 499 juvenile arrests for grand theft auto, more than anywhere else in Florida and even the largest counties across the country, including Los Angeles.

The series prompted U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist to hold a community meeting last month "to put an end to this madness." The congressman vowed then to reconvene the group to continue pushing for solutions in the near future.

Teen in stolen car hits three trees but escapes violent wreck in Clearwater 06/16/17 [Last modified: Friday, June 16, 2017 3:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Those wide-open, end-to-end, shoot-at-will games are a lot of fun to watch, especially when those shots are going in the net. But if the players had their druthers, they would rather have a more controlled pace, one with which they can dictate the action.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  2. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  3. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  4. Chemical industry insider now shapes EPA policy

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

    This is the Dow chemical plant near Freeport, Texas. Before the 2016 election, Dow had been in talks with the EPA to phase out the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is blamed for disabilities in children. Dow is no longer willing to compromise.
  5. Unforgiving wildfires affect vineyard workers and owners

    Nation

    SONOMA, Calif. — When the wildfires ignited, vineyard workers stopped picking grapes and fled for their lives. Some vineyard owners decided to stay and fight back, spending days digging firebreaks and sleeping among their vines.

    Wilma Illanes and daughter Gabriela Cervantes, 8, found their home intact, but had lost a week’s wages and sought aid.