Pinellas Sheriff: Maserati Teens Traveling 123 MPH Before Crash

LARGO -- Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says a Maserati that crashed early Sunday morning in St. Petersburg was going 123 miles per hour, just before it flipped and crashed, killing a 15-year-old passenger.

The sheriff released more information about the case in a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Gualtieri says the helicopter and deputies involved initially were working an unrelated case when the pilot spotted three teenagers, walking down 62nd Avenue North. It shows them getting into the unlocked Maserati in front of a home on 62nd Avenue North and driving away with lights off. Video shows the Maserati speeding away when deputies tried to pull it over. A sergeant ordered deputies to break off the pursuit. Gualtieri says his office has one of the most restrictive policies on pursuits in Florida, prohibiting them for property crimes and allowing them only for violent crime or dangerous driving situations. He says only a few seconds passed between the deputies breaking off the pursuit and the crash.

The crash killed 15-year-old passenger Mario Bonilla.

Gualtieri says the 15-year-old driver, who didn't have a license, was expected not to survive, but he has had several surgeries. If he recovers, he faces charges that could include third-degree murder and auto theft.

A 16-year-old passenger is also hospitalized but his injuries are not life-threatening.

Gualtieri says that unlike other recent cases of teens stealing cars, their parents were trying to head off trouble and thought the teens were in a bedroom when they sneaked out. "These kids were... thwarting the parents... they were hell bent on havoc, and havoc happened," the sheriff said.

Photo: PCSO/Canva

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