3 Teen Girls Take Fatal Plunge in Stolen Car

Joyride turns into tragedy
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2016 7:05 AM CDT

Three teen girls allegedly stole a car in Florida Wednesday night—a joyride that ended tragically when the car plunged into a Pinellas County pond, killing all three, WFLA reports. The owner of the Honda had given the girls a ride and stopped at a Walmart, which is when cops say the teens, all of whom have been in trouble for grand theft auto before, took off. Early the next morning, sheriff's deputies saw the car run a red light and tailed it from a distance (county deputies aren't permitted to pursue stolen cars, per the Tampa Bay Times), but the car drove to a cemetery and into the pond. The car was towed out of the water about two hours later. "We don't know what the girls did or where they were between about 8:30 … when they stole the car and when our sergeant saw them … about 3:30," says Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, per WFLA.

The only clue: A Facebook post that said, "Who tryna get seen & wheels?" made by one of the teens at 8:48pm. "With the water and the thickness and with the windows being closed, unfortunately it just became a death chamber," Gualtieri tells WFLA. The teens were IDed as Dominique Battle, 16, and Ashaunti Butler and Laniya Miller, both 15. WTSP notes a car-theft "epidemic" has hit the area. Also in Florida, per the AP: A 15-year-old boy from Silver Springs Shores died Wednesday after he fell off the back of a Chevy Camaro driven by a 17-year-old friend. The death of Gianni Fabian Garcia, who hit his head on the pavement when he fell, is being investigated, the Ocala Star-Banner reports. (More Florida stories.)

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