Police: St. Pete hit-and-run crash caused by teens in stolen vehicle

Once again, Pinellas County authorities are dealing with a hit-and-run crash involving teenagers in a stolen vehicle.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Once again, Pinellas County authorities are dealing with a hit-and-run crash involving teenagers in a stolen vehicle.

A stolen SUV was traveling southbound on 33rd Street when it hit another vehicle traveling eastbound on 5th Avenue North at about 5:15 p.m., St. Petersburg police said.

Two boys and two girls, all teenagers, ran from the vehicle, police said.

"Some construction workers nearby helped to detain one boy and two of the girls and
help officers arrest them," police said in a statement. "The other boy got away."

The driver of the second vehicle was hospitalized with minor injuries, police said.

10News reporter Beau Zimmer was at the scene following the crash:

'Deadly game'

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri previously described the problem of teens stealing vehicles as a deadly game.

His words came after three teenagers were killed in a fiery August crash while "running in tandem" with another stolen vehicle with teens inside.

"I can’t stress this enough, this is a sad and terrible situation, and somehow it’s got to stop," Gualtieri said, adding that vehicle thefts by teens have escalated in the county within the past two years.

Our coverage partners at the Tampa Bay Times found that 499 juveniles were arrested for auto thefts in Pinellas County in 2015, according to the most recent data.

Within the past eight years, Pinellas had the most juvenile auto thefts arrests out of all Florida counties - and out of the country's most populous counties, including Los Angeles, according to the Times.

In March 2016, three teen girls with a history of auto thefts were killed when they crashed a stolen car into a St. Petersburg pond while eluding authorities.

Local agencies, including the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, have launched auto theft task forces while other authorities have called on parents to step up their efforts.

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