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Three Teens Die After Crashing Stolen Car (Photos)

| by Michael Howard

Three Florida teens who police described as "prolific offenders" are dead after crashing a stolen vehicle.

The deceased were identified as 16-year-old Keontae Brown, 14-year-old Jimmie Goshey and 16-year-old Dejarae Thomas, according to WFLA. A fourth teen, another 14-year-old, was injured in the crash and taken to the hospital.

Two other teens, an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old, were arrested after being caught driving a second stolen car.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri called the accident, which took place in the early morning hours of Aug. 6 "an unfortunate continuation of the epidemic of juveniles engaging in the deadly game of auto burglary and auto thefts."

He added that the teens had extensive criminal records, describing them as "prolific offenders."

The two vehicles, a Ford Explorer and a Chrysler Sebring, were stolen from a car lot Aug. 3. Police officers caught sight of the Explorer around 1:30 a.m. Aug. 6 and tried unsuccessfully to follow it.

Around 4 a.m., a helicopter was brought in to search for the vehicles after another officer saw them entering a residential neighborhood. The search was unsuccessful.

Half an hour later, yet another officer spotted both vehicles driving recklessly and playing a "cat and mouse" game in which one car would slow down while the other would speed up.

The driver of the Explorer sped off in excess of 100 mph, Gualtieri said.

Moments later the Explorer ran a red light and collided with another car, driven by 29-year-old Ricky Melendez.

 The Explorer went airborne and slammed into a billboard and several parked vehicles before rolling over and catching fire, according to WTSP.

Three of the four teens were killed instantly. Two were found dead inside the car, while the third had been ejected. The fourth teen was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Melendez was taken to the hospital where he was treated for minor injuries. He is expected to make a full recovery.

The Sebring was found abandoned on a road not far from the scene of the crash, and the two teens were taken into custody shortly after with the help of a K-9 unit. They are each charged with one count of grand theft auto and one count of resisting arrest without violence, according to WTSP.

Gualtieri spoke of the teens' "extremely lengthy" criminal history and added that a few of them had just been released from jail days before the deadly accident.

Sources: WFLA, WTSP / Featured Image: perthhdproductions/Flickr / Embedded Images: Randy Klein/WTSP

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