Tampa teen charged in connection to deadly Plant City car crash


Authorities say the teen was behind the wheel of a stolen car that lead police on a chase prior to the crash.

PLANT CITY, Fla. — A Tampa teen is facing felony charges in connection to a crash that left one person dead last month, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities say 15-year-old Calvin Sanford was the one behind the wheel of a stolen Nissan Frontier on March 12 when he crashed into another car at the intersection of Turkey Creek Road and Trapnell Road in Plant City while being chased by police. Sanford was one of four in the car — the others were a 12-year-old boy and two 14-year-olds.

According to Tampa police, officers spotted the stolen car at 26th Street and Chelsea Avenue in Tampa. The car got away as officers began a chase eastbound toward Plant City. 

As the car turned onto Turkey Creek Road, it hit the back of a Honda and forced it to crash into a telephone pole. The 44-year-old woman inside the Honda died from her injuries, police said.

Her passengers, a 24-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man, also were injured. 

At the time, the sheriff’s office says none of the teens were in custody. 

Three of the teens have a history of auto burglary run-ins with police, according to authorities, including Sanford. 

In fact, law enforcement says Sanford was also arrested the week prior to the crash for grand theft auto and auto burglary. He was placed on home detention as well. The sheriff’s office says, in total, Sanford has been charged with seven prior felonies. 

However, the reason Sanford is behind bars is not because of the crash. The sheriff’s office says the teen was arrested on Thursday for armed burglary and stealing a firearm. On Friday, the sheriff’s office charged him with vehicular homicide in connection to last month’s crash. According to law enforcement, more charges are likely. 

“If you are old enough to commit felony crimes, then you are old enough to face the punishments,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister in a news release. “In just 15 short years, this teenager has sadly chosen a life of crime, and his reckless behavior led to the death of an innocent person. He must now accept the very serious consequences of his actions, and we will work to ensure that this suspect will feel the full force of the law.”

According to the sheriff’s office, none of the other minors have been charged.

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