20 April 2016
Video taken from a police cruiser dash cam shows that sheriff’s deputies made no attempt to save three drowning Florida teens who drove into a cemetery pond after stealing a car last month.
16-year-old Dominique Battle, 15-year-old Ashaunti Butler, and 15-year-old Laniya Miller all died on March 31, following a car chase with the sheriff previously stating that officers on the scene dropped their gun belts and waded into the water trying to save the screaming teens.
(UPDATE: Florida sheriff defends deputies who stood by as teens drowned — and blames the girls)
In the video, Pinellas County deputies can be heard standing by their cruiser, with one officer yelling, “I hear them yelling, I think!”
“They’re done. They are 6-7, dude” another officer replies.
“They were yelling,” a deputy responds. “I thought I heard yelling.”
As the car continued to sink the deputy replies, “But now, they’re done. They’re done.”
In a press conference following the tragic accident, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri gave a detailed history of the three teens’ history of stealing cars before commending his officers.
“Deputies wading out into the water were just sinking (into the muck) and couldn’t get to the car,” the sheriff said.
“Once the car filled up with water, it went down pretty quickly,” Gualtieri added. “There was nothing deputies could do. As thick as that muck is in the pond, it is almost like a carpet. The doors were closed, the windows were up and unfortunately it just became a death chamber. They drowned, they just couldn’t get out.”
Watch the dash cam video below via YouTube: