Posted on April 29, 2024

Four Teenagers Are Killed in Horror Crash After Cop Cruiser Used PIT Maneuver to Stop Them Speeding at 111MPH

James Gordon, Daily Mail, April 28, 2024

Four Florida teenagers have been killed after they were involved in a police chase in which officers used a maneuver designed to get a car to stop, but caused them to spin out of control.

The four, who were between the ages of 14 and 16, attended Newberry High School in Bradford County, northeast of Gainesville.

Two of the teens in the car died at the Waldo area scene, while the other two passed away from their injuries days later at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

Jabril Cheevers and Lawrence McClendon Jr. were both Newberry High School students. McLendon was a sophomore defensive back for the football team.

The McClendon family have set up a GoFundMe to help cover funeral expenses.

The police pursuit began after an SUV was reported to have been stolen out of Gainesville. Only hours after the theft, the car was detected by a license plate reader.

Police were soon on their tail and a Bradford County sheriff’s deputy confirmed the SUV was stolen as they followed and called for backup.

Deputies verified there were several people inside the vehicle and attempted to pull it over.

The vehicle appeared to be slowing down but then the driver hit the gas and sped away with the car reaching speeds of 111mph.

Police patrol vehicles were unable to keep up with the car because a device in their car prevents them from accelerating too fast.

At that point, the Florida Highway Patrol were called and a trooper continued the chase.

The trooper then rammed the side of the vehicle using PIT – precision immobilization technique – maneuver. It caused the SUV to roll over and crash into a cement pole.

The controversial maneuver requires police to hit the back of a moving car and spin it around, causing the car to stop while officers surround it.

‘The Trooper made intentional contact with the Honda, causing it to decelerate,’ a statement from the FHP said.

‘The Trooper used the break in speed to perform a Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT maneuver) on the fleeing Honda to stop the threat created by the fleeing suspect. The Honda subsequently rolled over before making contact with a cement pole.’

It took crews more than an hour-and-a-half to pull all of the victims out from the wreck reports WCJB.

‘We confirmed with the Gainesville Police Department that they still had that car entered as stolen, and the officer waited until he had three backup units with him before he initiated the traffic stop,’ Col. Brad Smith, chief deputy for the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office, said.

‘They did start to pull over on the shoulder of the road, but before they came to a complete stop, they accelerated again, and that is when the chase was on.’

Smith said Bradford County deputies stopped pursuing the vehicle after reaching the county line because their own patrol cars were unable to keep up.

‘The [Florida] Highway Patrol was, at that point, the only vehicle that could actually keep up with them,’ Smith said. ‘Our vehicles cannot match the speed that they were going, but we did continue one of our units to try and stay as close as they could as a backup unit to FHP until Alachua County’s units were able to catch up to them.’

Authorities later added two of the teens that were killed in SUV were wearing ankle monitors, while three had active warrants, reports WLBT. Some of the occupants also appeared to be wearing ski masks.

‘It is with great sadness that I share the two Newberry High School students who were in the serious car accident this past weekend have now passed away from their injuries,’ Newberry High School principal James Sheppard wrote in a message to parents.

‘Thank you for keeping both of these families in your thoughts during this difficult time.’

‘Lawrence [McClendon] was a great kid to be around and have in our program,’ said Ed Johnson, Newberry’s head football coach.

As a football player he was competitive, talented and relentless with a knack for making big plays. He will be truly missed by everyone in the Panther football family.’