ST. PETERSBURG – Two teens died when the stolen car they were driving hit a tree and erupted in flames early Monday, police said, marking the tenth and eleventh deaths connected to Pinellas County’s juvenile auto theft epidemic in little more than three years.Damari Milton, 18, was driving and Dequante Lightsey, 16, was a passenger, police said. The 2016 Mazda Miata swerved at 38th Avenue N and 49th Street about 3:30 a.m., colliding with a tree. Investigators say Milton was speeding. Authorities initially reported that both boys’ bodies were burned beyond recognition.”We’ve got to stop this,” said St. Petersburg Police Chief Tony Holloway. “I’m tired of hearing (about) kids getting killed over this.”The Tampa Bay Times chronicled the county’s struggle with teen auto theft last year in its series “Hot Wheels,” which showed that teenagers were caught stealing cars in Pinellas more often than anywhere else in Florida and more even than some of the nation’s biggest counties. Kids here crashed stolen cars once every four days.READ THE ‘HOT WHEELS’ SERIES: ‘It’s spreading. And we’re part of the problem.’Both Milton and Lightsey had been accused of grand theft auto before, according to state criminal records. Milton had also faced other… Read full this story
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