4 Teens Killed As Police Pursue Stolen Car

(StraightNews.org) – Four Florida teenagers died when their car crashed amid a high-speed chase with police. The four males, aged 14 to 17, were driving a stolen car when Bradford County Sheriff’s Department deputies spotted them and attempted to pull them over. Col. Brad Smith told reporters that the teenagers initially indicated they intended to obey the officers and stop the vehicle, but “before they came to a complete stop, they accelerated again.”

Deputies chased the stolen SUV until it crossed county lines, at which point Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) took over. Mid-pursuit, one FHP trooper decided to use a method known as the PIT maneuver to stop the car.

The PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) Maneuver is a law enforcement technique that forces a fleeing car to take a 180-degree turn and stop abruptly. A statement from FHP said a Trooper made contact with the teenagers’ vehicle, causing it to turn swiftly, which in turn caused it to flip over, slide, and collide with a concrete pole.

The teenagers were transported to hospital, where each of them died within days. Authorities said two of the four were under active arrest warrants and wearing ankle tracking devices. Other reports suggested they were wearing ski masks during the incident.

Newberry High School principal James Sheppard said two of the dead teenagers were students at his school, including Lawrence McClendon, who was a school football star. He described McClendon as a competitive and talented player who his teammates would miss.

Florida Highway Patrol is the only law enforcement agency in the Sunshine State permitted to use the PIT maneuver. It is considered controversial because of the risk to innocent motorists, and figures released in 2020 revealed that 30 people had died in PIT encounters in the previous four years. Last year, an Arkansas Trooper resigned after using PIT on the wrong car, causing a pregnant woman to crash. Legislators subsequently changed the law and said police could only use it to protect a person’s life.

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