Tag Archives: Safe travels

Race To The The End

Street Racers been around since Moonshine Wars, I Honestly don’t Think that it will ever stop. As I have said before there is a Natural Bond, goes back to the invention of the wheel, if there were no need for speed the Wheel never would have rolled . Even before Birth there is Motion, we weren’t made to stand still, that’s my explanation of why the most mild mannered people  gets behind the wheel and loose it.

Used to be a maserati

Now they think they have experience from doing warm-up Laps at Poccono 500, where Speeds past 185MPH. On a five Miles Straight on a Public Roadway, Jerks Do 80,90,100, twelve Noon. When I saw a 2017 Vet Burnt Charred Black all I could do was Gaze and say a Prayer. There are still Fatalities at Lower speeds. As Kids we Raced with Bad Bakes, as Adults we Race against Fate(the wind) As the saying goes “to Die for” making time and staying ahead of the Pack is totally different from Racing in the middle of the day, Racing anytime of the Day is stupid. I Commute two hours Daily, I am steady Clocking ten MPH over the speed limit, enough to get a warning.

Usually I am the Rabbit but there is always some Idiot going five Miles who picked up my trail and want to Race. My Speedometer says 170, but I will never know if the Engine can take the Strain. Even at eighteen I wouldn’t want to know what it feels like to go past 100, I have seen Crashes with the Vehicles split in half and everyone going Airborne. The bad part of this Childlike Practice is the Catastrophic outcomes, many times involving innocent people.

The way I see it is if you want to Kill yourself fine and dandy, find a deserted Strip of Roadway and Race all Night till the Sun comes up. Near Kennedy Airport a Racing Club use to meet infrequently twelve O’clock at night and Race for the Audience, till one Night a Car got out of control and plowed into the crowd killing some of the Spectators. These Clubs are all over they even Wager on these Events. Many times when the Event ends they Race each other Home on Public Roadways, sometimes with Horrific outcomes. Speed is like any other Drugs or aphrodisiacs used properly and discriminately they have rewards. Abuse it and it will kill just the same. Dale Earnhardt was the Best, but at any speed shit happens, so how can you a mere novice go Racing through City Streets at high speeds not expecting any consequences.

Flow

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks because when they were younger they were complacent with their Driving habits and skills. After covering millions of Miles Driving Commercial and numerous Miles recreationally, I became an estute observer of my fellow Drivers. I came to the conclusion that someone needs to tell you that most of you are doing it all wrong. Lets take it from the stop Light, three Lanes of Traffic, all three lanes take off at the same speed watching each other’s speed, If one speed up the other two speeds up also, now we are back to square one only at a faster rate of speed travelling shoulder to shoulder. That’s not what good driving is about, someone has to be the Rabbit and some the Greyhound, that’s how a staggered formation developes. If the flow is not staggered impatient drivers in the back becomes antsy and begins to weave the Traffic. That’s how accidents are set up.

 

There are many of us who do not believe in relativity, as they say to each action there is a direct Reaction. If you Run the Gauntlet for two hundreds Yards , People wait for you to get within ten feet, then pull out. Consequences at 50mph can be Deadly. But that’s what you do when you set up a bad traffic Flow, someone comes Barreling thinking that they are going to get through before the gap closes up. The key word is Flow, a good Traffic Flow yields good Results, while a bad Traffic Flow gives consequences. Such as me doing sixty five on mushy surface turning into snow, deep into the Mountain more snow, I was now in three inches of snow. I kept control by pumping my Brakes three times and pulling off the Road to put my flashers on to warn other Drivers. Upon coming to a stop, 100yards of Highway Littered with Trailers and Cars some total all over the Road.

 

If I wasn’t paying attention or if I was doing 75 I would have been a part of it. Did I mention Bad Traffic Flow. At these Speed, Flow is almost Jedi Theory, when you are in a comfort Zone at 75 and not worrying that some Idiot is going to Pull in front of you and at 75 that’s a lot of stress put to rest. That’s is what Flow does at an Speed, eliminating near misses. In a good Flow pattern Drivers read other Drivers next move, you can’t ask for more than that. It’s understandable Driving Bumper to Bumper in Manhattan but when the Traffic allows, you need to develop a sensible Traffic Flow. I can not impress how important a good Traffic Flow is until you come around a Blind Bend to see Vehicles all spread out over the Highway and you are going too fast too close, now you are part of the mess.

 

A good Traffic Flow allows you to somewhat judged fellow drivers moves, sometimes there is no Traffic and they still make dumb moves. Traveling from Pennsylvania to Florida, I made it safe and sound to South Carolina, it’s been a Torrential Rain for the past Hour, ordinarily on an eleven hundred miles Trip on a clear Day I would be doing eighty in a seventy MPH Zone. Watching your speed is critical in developing a good Flow I was the lead car doing sixty five on a totally saturated Roadway. Up ahead I noticed a Truck two miles ahead, by the time I got within fifteen feet of him, for no apparent reason he chose to change lane and entered my lane. If I wasn’t traveling at a reasonable rate of speed and had to slam on my Breaks, I would have Rear ended him and caused a tremendous pile up with the cars following me. All I had to do travelling at a sensible rate of speed was to take my foot off the gas and all safe. Once more speed is critical for a good Traffic Flow, if every one in front of you is doing sixty to seventy and you come Barreling at eighty, you are not part of the Flow, you are the problem.

Rationality Behind The Wheel

 

They have their fatalities too

At twelve years old we built Go- Carts to race Downhill. Many days we went home bruised and battered, but that’s what crazy kids fascinated with speed do for the adrenaline rush. My problem is far too many people never lost the fascination with speed, mild mannered rational people gets behind the wheel and they turn into absolute maniacs. Common sense and rationality out the window, get out my way Can’t you see I Am Driving here. People in positions of trust like the Sheriff Deputy who abused his authority by cutting me off making a U Turn twelve O’clock at night in a non emergency situation, no flashing lights or sirens. If he can drive like that what do you expect from the average Driver. Sixteen going seventeen I started going to Driving School, with money Earned from working part time. I could not wait to get behind the wheel. What  happened was in my early years of Speed Racer,  racing downhill, to find out that the  Brakes don’t work,  I developed  what I call Motion Sickness, the need for speed. If it had wheels, I’m riding, I was now ready for the challenges of our Roadways. Make no mistake the challenge of going with your speed hunger, or to be Rational and ask yourself do you want to go out that way, Or disfigured for life. This type of reasoning is beyond many out there behind the Wheel. Most Drivers lacks rationality they leave everything to chance.

 

At seventeen I was a passenger driven by my twenty year old friend. Gary and Owen were both friends I grew up with, coincidentally they both acquired New Cars at the same time. At that time in my life I never missed a weekend of partying. On this particular Saturday there were several parties going on the same day so we bounced from one to the next, at each one having two or three mixed drinks.This was my first encounter with Buz Driving, while bouncing to the last party of the night the Drivers decided to race two brand new cars. Growing up with them I thought that they were level headed and rational people, boy was I wrong we hit speeds up to one hundred and twenty Mph. The exit ramp came up fast we entered the ramp at ninety with two wheels in the air, they say that the Lord looks out for babies and fools, how we survived that night was a miracle. The learning process had begun, that one night had taught me what could not have been taught in driving school, which stayed with me for the rest of my life. People think that they are cool getting behind the wheel buzzed enough to fail a sobriety test, but sober enough to think that they are still in control. Precious was a childhood friend of mine who went to a party and choose to ride home with a Drunk, the car hit a lightpole, Precious went through the Windshield, dead at nineteen.

A lot of us did crazy things when we were nineteen, some of us grow out of stupidity, some never change until they are going to a Funeral, theirs. I absorbed all that was going on around me so by the time I got my Drivers license I was matured beyond my years, and had enough rationality to stay alive out there. It’s no wonder that at eighteen I was driving Taxi in Manhattan, one of the most congested places in the world. Driving Taxi in Manhattan was like going to Driving University. I quickly honed the Art of Motoring, I hope you noticed the word Motoring, there are many drivers out there, very few Motorists, fewer good ones and less great Motorists. I’ll tell you what makes a great Motorist, one day in Lower Manhattan I came upon an intersection where I could not see five feet beyond the white line, I had the right of way which I yielded because I could not see what was approaching. That move saved my life, a truck barreled through the stop sign without even pumping his brakes if I didn’t give up the right of way I would be dead.

 

Used to be a maserati

That’s what motoring is, using good judgment all the time while you are behind the wheel. I would prefer to be a good motorist than a great Driver, they are sometimes overcome by overconfidence and end up being wreskless. Overconfidence is one of the major causes of Autobobile fatalities, they push themselves and the vehicle to the limit. Another incident oh being a good motorist, heading north on Park Avenue I came upon a changing light, looked in my rearview mirror to see that the car following was too close for me to obey the red light, I ran the light intentionally to avoid being rear ended, so did he. Bad drivers expects others to drive accordingly that’s what causes so many accidents, because they assume that you are going to do what they would do. It’s like half the people on the Road didn’t read the Driving Manual. For example at a four way intersection who has the right of way and who goes first, same as a Roundabout, going counter can be costly. By giving the answer away, the driver to the right has the right of way so do the pedestrian always. This is sounding like 101 but fundamentals enough to mention to a young driver who read the manual only to pass the Written Test, once they pass the Written Test and the Road test, they make their own Rules as they go along.

Bad Driving Habits

When I worked in Construction we had a saying, you could be doing it for fifty years, if you don’t know what you are doing, the years doesn’t matter. So why should driving be different. When we are kids we sit in the middle of the back seat so we see how the driver is operating the vehicle. The learning process begins, if dad is a bad driver we absorb his bad habits thinking that they are cool, ok or acceptable. If you are an apprentice tradesman  and your mentor is someone who cuts corners to stay ahead of schedule when you are on your own you will do the same, until one day the Building you wired burns to the ground. It is the same with driving, if you are used to running red lights one day you will find yourself  embeded under a Tractor trailer if you are used to traveling too fast one day they will have to use the Jaws of Life to get you out of your fine automobile.

 

 

Are you following me bad habits one day will bite you on the ass like your credit score or your attendance record. Case in point John at eighty years old loose his license for accumulating too many speeding  tickets, way later but nonetheless it finally caught up with him, who is going to take him to where he needs to go. Mary lost her’s  for too many Wrecks charged to her reckless driving. All her life she drove top of the line cars and crashed them like they were five hundred dollar heaps like the heaps I drove when I started driving. Only difference is I learned the art of driving by twenty one. In almost fifty years of driving I had one serious crash when I was twenty, that was caused by a bad driver who cut me off within one car length, then took his foot off the gas on an ice slicked road. I learned from that one bad accident, for the next forty eight years, never had another bad crash.

There is nothing unique about my driving skills and habits, I see good drivers out there every day. But I hate to say it, bad drivers outnumber good drivers twenty to one. My one bad accident stayed with me the rest of my life like hitting the re- play button I side -swiped five other vehicles ripped up twenty five yards of guardrail crashing through and nailed in the fast Lane by a car doing sixty five, no brakes applied. Now do you understand why I chose to write about the subject. The Lord kept me here to tell foolish people who think that driving is a joke or a game. Your life and others are in your hand when you get behind the wheel. Ok so you don’t get killed or no one die from your careless driving, have you ever seen what mangled metal do to flesh and bone, it’s not pretty. Why should you wait to be looking at death’s door like I did for you to become a continuous Motorist. Precious left us at nineteen when the driver of the car she was in hit a Light Pole sending her through the Windshield. You can dodge the Bullet for a lifetime one day your bad driving habits will catch up with you or some poor unsuspecting soul. Finally, please do not test the hand of Fate.

Driving 101/Man And Machine

😐 If Driving bewilderes you, terrifies and inhibits you, you  need to go back to the drawing board (driving school) explain to them how you feel about driving and ask what can you do to improve your driving skills so you can feel more  relaxed behind the wheel . Harboring fears and not addressing them only eats you alive, especially if it’s something that you have to do everyday.  How I learned to be totally focused and relaxed behind the wheel, was by carrying one simple taught that my Driving instructor instilled in me. Know where you are on the road at all times, know who’s around you all the time, in front behind and beside. Make sure that your mirrors are properly adjusted,  know how to view them moving your head as little as possible by rolling your eyes. When you do have to move your head, don’t stare too long five seconds at fifteen mph can put you on the sidewalk. The trick is to focus beyond your Hood, sometime you need to focus as far as one or more miles down the road to see what’s developing.

 

Learn how to use your peripheral vision, that helps when some idiot catches up with you, sits on your rear quarter panel and out of the rearview mirror, also known as the blind spot. Seen as how this is turning out to be a driving institutions Blog, we might as well move on to the next step of feeling comfortable behind the wheel. Now we come to giving it gas and breaking. Never overdrive, that happens when you give the engine more gas than is needed to get you from one stop light to the next forcing you to apply your brakes hard.Your Engine has a section called the Combustion chamber, with today’s technology very little gas is needed to achieve performance. The amount of gas you gives it controls your speed, never become gas happy,  the more gas you give it makes it harder to stop, putting unnecessary wear on your Break Pads. In other words when you are driving in City Limits you should never be driving Jack Rabbit style like you are a Taxi driver or an Ambulance Driver. All that does is put you and others at risk if someone isn’t paying attention and drifts in front of you.

 

I live in Florida we have no fault Insurance and no yearly vehicle inspections, so you never know that you need new brakes until your Front Bumper is embedded in someone’s Trunk. I have traveled just about every State in this country and I have never seen the amount of rear end accident like Florida, everyone overdrives and think that their name is Dale Earnhardt. I know how to make my Engine scream like a Formula one Race Car for twenty five yards and roll to a Stop Sign with minimal break use. It takes years of driving to be able to use your Engine like that without killing yourself, you can’t keep the gas pedal buried until you get to the STOP Sign to find out that you need new brakes. That’s how people gets killed. The trick is flow control and spacing your vehicle that way when a situation developes you never have to jam on your Break, only give it enough gas to stay with the traffic flow. Most people who are gas happy on congested City Streets, are piss poor drivers travelling eleven hundred miles, to tell the truth they don’t have the nerves to take on a trip like that, they take a Plane. I am a driving Fantastic,  if I could drive to Europe I would. That’s all the Yapping for now, I will try to expand on this topic at a later date.

Save Driving / Testing Fate

 

A man once said,  if he lives to be a hundred that he never would understand women. I am saying that if I live to be a hundred I will never understand People’s gregarious nature when they get behind the wheel. I always travel at a reasonable fast pace so as to leave the clutter behind me. Today I am navigating Us 19 doing sixty in a fifty five mph zone. I looked in my rear  view and I noticed a car travelling faster than I was, barreling down on me, this is all within a one mile spaced stop light. I changed lanes as I always do when someone is barreling down on me. At the light while we were stopped, I glanced into his car, to my surprise an infant sat in his car seat while his Dad puts his Life at risk, pushing a subcompact to its limit. Bad enough to be gregarious with your own life, but with your own children, that is unconscionable. Truthfully, you are a Jackass. I am a fast driver with years of Commercial experience, but when I have a passenger their safety is my number one concerns. Most of all I don’t like to create anxiety.

 

 

Cars backing up have ran over Kids, Toys and  Pets also, so if with such gentle force the damage can be great, multiply sixty five Mph. with your children sharing your Callousness, on a whim. Once travelling the Pa Turnpike Traffic came to a dead stop, after inching by the accident scene, I noticed a SUV that was making an illegal U turn on a highway that a hundred has been done many times. He got broadside by a vehicle coming around a blind Bend at a high rate of speed, all was airlifted. I peered at the SUV to see a Teddy Bear,  where the Bear sat the Quarter Panel took a huge impact.

 

 

Like Spock would say totally illogical, for you to hear and see bad accidents and you say to yourself  it doesn’t affect me, yes it does affect you, it is a learning experience for you to store in your head for, the next time you take off on a Flight of fancy. Regardless of weather or not you are alone, the General Public’s safety is in your Hands . In my neighborhood a hard working Man made a Decision to Drink and Drive with a very fast Car. That Decision cost his Life and his two young Sons, injuring his Wife permanently. The Maserati disintegrated .
Please do not test the  hand of Fate, drunk or sober, you can’t Win. When carrying precious Cargo you need to be extremely focused on the task at hand.

 

Save Driving/Experience Count


Most smart people practice safe sex. So why don’t these same smart people practice safe Driving. The average person who gets a drivers license automatically believes he is a good driver, filled with overconfidence and smitten by the speed bug, some people do the same thing fifty years and never got good at it. Mediocrity and complacency may be cool elsewhere, not driving. You can be the most skilled operator, without common sense, good judgement and adherence to fundamental rules of the road , you are a statistic waiting to happen. There are so many contingencies on the road, it takes the most estute motorists at least ten years to be an accomplished driver, preventing accidents and compensating for other drivers mistakes. Many times the safest drivers loose their lives because of other drivers mistakes. In football a wide receiver is only as good as being able to read the play in motion being orchestrated by the quarterback, It is the same with driving. When you are out there one the roadways, you need to be able to look a mile down the road and tell by the taillights that something is wrong.  One day travelling I- 81 leaving Hazelton coming around a blind bend I taught someone was playing a Halloween trick on fellow Drivers. I almost crashed into the traffic that was stand still, watching a head roll down the road. If I was not practicing what my driving instructor told me,  he told me never over-drive, you can’t see around a blind bend, take your foot off the gas.

 

 

As I took my eyes off the Head I had just enough time and distance to stop from pushing the VW that was embedded under the Tractor Trailer. Apparently the Driver of the VW did not have estute training as I did about overdrive which is something not only found in Transmissions. The average person knows nothing about overdrive, it’s the same with night driving. If you can’t see beyond your headlights, take your foot off the gas. This is beginning to look like a VW fatality Blog. Another time traveling through Connecticut I noticed a Flatbed truck transporting a Caterpillar tire unsecured with no tie-downs . I was directly behind the Tractor Trailer, I noticed that the unsecured Tire was bouncing, I immediately put my flashers on, I started honking my horn to alert the truck and fellow Drivers that there was a hazardous situation developing. No one paid any attention to me , the Tractor Trailer kept on hammering and drivers blew me off.

 

 

Not being able to read the play,  a VW passing the Tractor Trailer was flattened by the one ton Tire that fell from the flat bed Truck. Of all the twenty vehicles that passed me, along with the Truck Driver none of them was able to read the play that I laid out in front of them.  All that could have been avoided if everyone didn’t think I was nuts blowing my horn frantically. Getting back to contingencies, reading the Traffic is only one of the many others that no one ever took the time to teach you, things like pumping your brakes instead of locking them up. I once observed a car travelling way too fast for the road conditions, came up on a wall of traffic in the pouring rain. Overconfident as he was doing 75mph on a wet road he knew enough to pump his brakes, instead of locking them up, he came to a perfect stop. So how can you be so overconfident behind the wheel not knowing that there are hundreds of contingencies out there awaiting an inexperienced driver filled with overconfidence.

Chasing The Rabbit

 

There is one fundamental principle of driving that ninety percent of the Drivers on the road don’t grasp. We all can’t drive at eighty, we all can’t drive at sixty, we all can’t drive at forty five. The people who posted the Speed limit signs did not explain that we all can’t drive at the same speed without devastating consequences and catastrophic statistics that we see each and every year. These statistics will not get any better, even though each year the cars comes with new Technologies in safety, remember the cars are only as safe as the Drivers. My car has censors all around the vehicle including front end crash censor, they still don’t protect me from other drivers who don’t understand the principles of staggering, which does not only means spacing front and back, but also side by side. Spacing front and back prevents rear end, side by side prevents drifting and side-swipes.

 

 

Staggering the traffic flow prevents being cut off abruptly by someone looking for an address, in the age of Texting and cell phone use, good driving skills becomes necessity. It absolutely behooves me that since we abandoned the Horse and Carriage, Generations after generation continue to drive with the same skill level as the first one thousand cars on the road, bumper to bumper and side by side. None have become any wiser that the more vehicles on the road, the greater the need for staggering and spacing. I can’t put it any simpler terms  to understand, if the cars in front of me is doing forty five, I can’t be doing forty four or forty three and the cars following me can’t be doing forty one, in a mishap consequences are costly. At higher speeds they can be catastrophic. Pile-ups are the result of likeminded pack mule driving. That old macho crap about you got this, is just that. If you took a written test to get your learners permit, I believe it said one car lengths for each ten mph. Yet not a day goes by that I am out there and I don’t have someone drafting my rear Bumper ridiculously close, old people lacking coordination, young Girls acting macho and lacking skills and experience.   If one driver tries to break away from the crowd everyone picks up the chase, someone who has been driving in a lull finally realize that he is on a highway and now all of a sudden he is a driver. Someone is doing sixty five in a fifty five mph zone and out of the blue there they are, side by side and

Used to be a maserati

drafting your Bumper, that is Jackass Driving. The next time you are out there driving take a look around you and prove me wrong.

 

 

I have been doing this driving business for over forty five years with three accidents, one of them my fault, on a snow covered roadway where speed was the only factor. After many years of driving commercial, I never sent anyone to the Hospital and I have saved many lives of people who drove mindlessly. At eighteen years old I drove Taxi in Manhattan a place where great Drivers are crafted. I quickly learned that pack driving caused ninety percent of the accidents. When I moved to Florida four years ago I developed a style of driving that I call Greyhound driving . At the light three abreast,  once it turns green I move out decisively and purposefully in order to set up the traffic flow. Once I have reached the Speed limit, I then maintain that speed, if I picked up tag along pack drivers, I exceede the speed limit by as much as ten mph. If the show off tag along wants to ride side by side, I back off and become the Greyhound chasing the Rabbit. Once I have distanced myself from the pack, I can relax, knowing that all I have to deal with is a couple of fools who don’t know that the Greyhound never catches the Rabbit.

 

Dying In the Name Of Fun

They have their fatalities too

At Save Driving we are always advocating safe driving and teaching good values to your kids. We cant think of any stronger way of driving this message home, than with the real thing.
Sunday afternoon, on my way to work I drove through the crash scene of the carnage that took place hours earlier, Where three Kids lost their lives in a high speed joy ride at over 100 mph. These kids were playing Russian roulette with their lives and the general public, who uses the roadways. There are many more out there whose Destiny is forged in an inferno of mangled steel. I know that we all have to die at some point, but that way is not my way, suffering excruciatingly in mangled steel. There are many adults who test the hand of faith daily  on our roadways.
The ones I look out for mostly, are the ones that are two miles away from their exits and they Punch the engine, reaching speeds of up to 100 showing off. When I lived in Pa I used to call them Jersey Drivers. They are everywhere, mindless Drones, so why am I not surprised that a sixteen year old would find that type of behavior fascinating. I once observed a Mother transporting her four children in a mini van, the kids were moving around while she played the Kamikaze Mom,weaving traffic at 65mph in a forty five mph zone. I travel not only  by sight, but by Faith also and I lead by example. what this mother was doing unconsciously, was telling her Children that it was cool to go driving through city streets like a maniac.
Kids can’t wait to drive, when my nephew was eight years old, someone left the keys in the ignition, guess what, he started the car, took off and crashed it. We try to teach them all they need to know to survive in life, why not teach them good driving skills by the way you operate your vehicle. Auto Manufacturers and NASCAR have already planted the seed in their heads that Cars ar’nt for Transportation, but for racing, the damage is done. When I lived in Pa and NASCAR came to Pocono Raceway, it was like a national holiday, people took off from work, school and life to be at the Track watching cars traveled way past 170 mph. After leaving the Track they would take what they have learned from NASCAR to the streets. Why then would you be surprised, when young bored Urban children take to stealing cars and racing them through City Streets. Kids from affluent families borrow their families BMW, smitten by the Speed Bug and never made their way back home, bottom line, Speed kills.
Ps.  Values, limitations, boundaries and consequences can keep them alive.

Three boys dead after fiery crash in stolen SUV, Pinellas sheriff says

“I value my life,” he said. “I’m not trying to be dead.”

Just eight months later, on Sunday morning, three boys died and Deyon was led away in handcuffs after a fiery, high-speed crash sent a stolen Ford Explorer pinwheeling through the air down Tampa Road in Palm Harbor, bursting into flames.

VIGIL: Friends, family gather in Clearwater to remember teens who died in SUV crash

Eight teenage car thieves from Pinellas have now died in the past two years, and dozens of innocent people have been injured, amid a juvenile auto theft epidemic so pervasive that even kids who vow to stop are then climbing back into stolen cars.

“When you have 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds that are dying because of their actions, it needs to stop,” said Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. “This is a deadly game.”

The boys who died in the Ford Explorer were driving more than 100 mph, playing a “cat and mouse” game with another stolen car at 4:40 a.m., before they likely ran a red light and hit the Toyota Camry of a 29-year-old man on his way to work, the sheriff said.

Both the Ford Explorer and the Chrysler Sebring it was speeding with were stolen Thursday from a car dealership in Clearwater. Deputies spotted the vehicles early Sunday morning turning into a subdivision in Oldsmar, where there had been a recent rash of burglaries.

HOT WHEELS: How kids are driving Pinellas County’s car-theft epidemic

The cars were then spotted on Tampa Road. They split up, and the Explorer hit the Camry before smashing into a billboard pole and several parked cars, spinning and rolling down Tampa Road in flames. Two of the dead boys were found in the wreckage; the third had been thrown onto the street.

The boys who died were identified as Jimmie Goshey, 14; Dejarae Thomas, 16; and Keontae Brown, 16. Keontae’s brother, 14-year-old Keondrae Brown, was also in the SUV but survived. He was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg and was in stable condition Sunday.

THE KIDS Six teens involved in stolen car crash have troubled histories

Deputies found the Chrysler Sebring at Sunset Point and Keene roads in Clearwater. Kamal Campbell, 18, and Deyon were taken into custody and face charges of grand theft auto and resisting arrest without violence.

The driver of the Camry, Ricky Melendez Jr., suffered a fractured ankle and tibia, as well as a broken collarbone, according to his father.

“My heart just dropped,” Ricky Melendez Sr. said. “After looking at the crash, I don’t know how he survived.”

Chris Urso | Times

The Ford Explorer struck another vehicle and spiraled into the air at around 4:30 a.m., Pinellas sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.

A continuing epidemic

Local officials said the deaths were a tragic but inevitable consequence of the ongoing auto theft problem.

“This scenario plays out daily throughout Pinellas County,” Gualtieri said. “The only difference between what didn’t happen yesterday and the day before that and the day before that is they didn’t roll, hit a car and get killed.”

 

In March 2016, three teenage girls from St. Petersburg died when they crashed a stolen car into a cemetery pond while trying to flee from deputies.

The epidemic was recently the subject of “Hot Wheels,” a Tampa Bay Times series that found that Pinellas kids driving stolen cars crash at least every four days. Teenagers here have made a sport of “car-hopping,” walking neighborhood streets looking for unlocked cars with keys left inside to steal. In 2015, police in Pinellas arrested juveniles 499 times for grand theft auto, more than in any other Florida county.

Reporters spoke with judges, police, lawyers, victims and the young car thieves themselves, who said that auto theft has become popular because kids don’t see many consequences after they’re caught.

Each of the teens involved in Sunday’s crash had “extremely extensive criminal histories”; several had committed car thefts like those chronicled in the Times series, the sheriff said. Many young car thieves wear gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints while they car-hop; one of the boys died still wearing his.

Clearwater police Chief Dan Slaughter called the deaths “senseless.”

“Many have worked so hard to avoid this inevitable tragedy,” Slaughter said. “The juvenile justice system needs to do a better job with conducting juvenile risk assessments so chronic offenders who are endangering the public, and themselves, can be reasonably detained.”

Keontae’s grandfather, Sylvester Brown, said the boy was released from custody just days earlier.

Brown said he wishes the juvenile system had been tougher on his grandson. “Why did they let him go like that?” he asked. “They should be more hard on them.”

Keontae’s father, Adontai, said his son “was doing something he shouldn’t have.”

“I admit that — I’m not going to sit around here and sugarcoat and say he’s the best kid in the world,” the dad said. “He had his problems, he did stuff that he wasn’t supposed to do, (but) he’s still a kid. He’s still a child.”

He added that it’s difficult to parent a child who has no respect for the courts.

“If they keep getting away with it, you think they’re going to respect the parent? No.”

Jimmie’s cousin Aja Jenkins said the boy played football growing up.

“He was loving. He was kind,” said Jenkins, 23. “He had a good heart. … (Jimmie) fell into the wrong crowd.”

Another ‘wake-up call’

Public officials who have been meeting to brainstorm solutions to the car theft problem said they were “heartbroken” and “at a loss.”

“These kids slipped through the cracks again,” said State Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-Treasure Island. “Somehow, whatever it is we’re doing did not protect them.”

“We need to intervene before it becomes another tragedy in our community, and we’ve seen far too much of this,” said Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch. “If anyone felt sheltered, this should, I think, be a wake-up call that we’re all invested in this. We’re all invested in trying to reach these young people.”

Welch described the problem as “a combination of a lack of consequence in the legal system, a lack of intervention by the community, parents, everyone, to get to these kids early.

“It’s only a miracle that more innocent folks haven’t died so far,” he said. “But I think it’s still a ticking time bomb.”

VIDEO: Chasing 13-year-old car thief Tyron ‘T-Man’ McKinnon

Pat Gerard, another county commissioner and former Largo mayor, said she was frustrated that Pinellas “wasn’t getting a handle” on the epidemic. “Hopefully this is a warning to the other kids that are doing this that, gee, they’re taking their lives in their hands,” she said. “We have a small group of kids who are making a big game out of this. And the game’s turning deadly. And it’s just not funny anymore. It never was funny.”

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, has pledged federal funding for activities that would engage Pinellas youth who are turning to crime. He said he is “praying” for the families of the boys and for the community, as well as planning an Aug. 24 roundtable with local teenagers to talk about why they steal cars and what would make them stop.

‘I cannot bury my child’

Deyon’s mother, Demetria Coley, said her son was doing well for a while. She had helped him get a job at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Dunedin. She moved houses, hoping to get him away from a bad crowd.

He started getting in trouble once more in early July, running with the wrong kids again, she said. “I keep telling him don’t go with them, they are not your friends.”

Deyon, who spoke to the Times in December for the Hot Wheels series, was arrested for grand theft auto again last month, and was later sent home with an ankle monitor. It was removed about five days before the crash, his mom said.

On Saturday night, Deyon ordered a pizza for dinner and ate it in his room. She thinks he must have slipped out after she went to sleep.

A single mother, Coley said she has begged judges and the juvenile system to do more to help her and to make her child see the consequences of his crimes.

“That’s why these children are dying. Because they keep slapping them on the hand,” she said. “I buried my mama, my grandma, my daddy. I’m the only child. And I’m all Deyon’s got. And this is what he’s taking me through.

“I cannot bury my child. They need to help me to help save his life.”

Times staff writer Melissa Gomez contributed to this report. Contact Lisa Gartner at lgartner@tampabay.com. Follow @lisagartner. Contact Laura C. Morel at lmorel@tampabay.com. Follow @lauracmorel. Contact Zachary T. Sampson at zsampson@tampaabay.com. Follow @zacksampson.

MORE ON TEEN CAR THEFTS

THE CHASE: Cops, teen car thieves and a dangerous game

EDITORIAL: Coming together to reduce car thefts

5 WAYS: Officials are trying to stop Pinellas teen car thieves

ExelateData

Speed Kills

 

It’s takes me where I want to go. That’s all a Car is supposed to be Transportation,  not a Toy, it’s too dangerous to be operated in a frivolous and callous manner. Keeping your Vehicle in road worthy conditions could mean life or death in an accident situation. When I started driving , Heaps were all I could afford. I went out and bought the Chilton Books on every Heap I drove. I bruised knuckles and more learning how to keep them running, I got good at it, to the point where if my Car broke down, I could get myself back on the Road. So it’s no wonder that today I Drive year to date cars and still think of a thirty thousand dollars vehicle as a heap. Because that is what they become within five years of poor Mentainance. Three months ago my free Mentainance expired, at that point my service manager presented me with a list of things to do, at the tune of eight hundred dollars, plus two hundred for oil change. Once your contact expire, they are waiting for you, and your lack of knowledge.

 

 

I taught to myself, with all my years of working  on Heaps, to work on a Car two years old, with twenty five thousand miles, is an avid do it yourselfers Dream. I went out and bought new automotive tools to do my first oil change, outside of the Mentainance Contact. Jacked up and secured with Jack-stands, I crawled  under. Now I am on my Back, inspecting what  thirty thousand got me. To my surprise, an Engine and a Transmission built from Aluminum, harnessing a Beast that does 175. One thing I know about Aluminum is that they don’t handle heat as well as Steel, also they shatter with impact. Changing the Oil on New Cars is not ment for novices, it’s the way the Factory make sure you take them back to the Dealership for everything. Half an hour later I have saved myself two hundred plus, and learned a lot about the vehicle, and as the result of their inexpensive manufacturing, one should use the utmost of care operating them. The Way they are Built traveling at high speed and making impact could be devastating. As I have said, Transportation and not a fun Toy. Toys and games are for Kids, you silly Wabbit. After the  Oil change it ran better than the day I drove off the Lot. Still not broken in , it does 175, I would be more than Mad to take it up and beyond 100.

It doesn’t have to be like this

 

 

I once knew a Valet who got caught doing in excess of 100 in a 55 mph zone, there are many more like that out there, be wary. Again Transportation is all its supposed to be, even if it has a wet Bar and the kitchen sink. One O-clock in the Afternoon, I am traveling on the Parkway in Queens, I am doing 65 or better in a 55 mph zone. Two Cars racing blew my Doors off both doing better than 100, in thirty seconds they were almost a mile in front of me, simultaneously they both decided to enter my Lane, the middle Lane. They slammed together bouncing off the other, nothing left but littered Roadway, Plastic, Steel and Parts. I miraculously avoided the Carnage by driving on the Grassy shoulder. I didn’t stop, my Stomach wouldn’t let me. Speed Kills more times than not.

They have their fatalities too

 

I always exceede the speed limit by ten miles P.H. to avoid Clutter Driving, everybody doing the same speed limit looking inside each other’s vehicle. Once I have distances myself from the Clutter, I relax my speed. Whenever I am in a clutter situation, I know that I need to be ahead of it, or behind it. Never drive in the middle of clutter, S**t happens. In a clutter driving pattern, you have no out in mishap occurrences, when you are in the middle there is no place to go. A lot of people think that driving is a big Joke, my Childhood friends Gary and Owen  both with brand new Cars, they thought that driving was a joke.  Two seventeen years old and three twenty years old, bouncing from one party to another, having one or two mixed Drinks at each stop. On our way to the last stop, driving on the highway, inebriated and all, the drivers decided to race. I was a passenger in the front,  so my eyes never left the console, the needle went past 110,  when we entered the exit Ramp we were doing 90. We traveled the entire Ramp on two wheels. I was just about sitting in the driver’s lap trying my best not to do anything to distract him, averting him from  flipping the car killing us all.  The Lord do look out for stupid Babies playing with grown-up Toys. He saved my life so I can be here to tell other Fools, Don’t Do It! SPEED KILLS.

Used to be a maserati

The Driver of this Maserati killed himself and his two  young sons.  Was speed a factor?