Vigil held for 3 St. Pete girls killed after driving stolen car into pond

friends want them remember for their positive contributions

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (WFLA)- Dozens gathered in Campbell Park in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday evening to remember three teens who died in a crash early Thursday morning.

Dominique Battle age 16, and Ashaunti Butler and Laniya Miller, both 15,  were in a stolen car fleeing from authorities.  It’s unclear which of the teens was behind  the wheel, but she drove into a cemetery near where Gandy Boulevard and I-275 meet.  Sheriff Bob Gualtieri believes the teens were trying to make it to the interstate, and simply didn’t see the pond.

At a news conference the day of the accident, the sheriff said other teens need to learn stealing cars is not a joke.  “They need to know that there are consequences for their actions. They need to know that you can’t get arrested four and five times in a  year in auto theft and get away with it,” said Gualtieri.  “This is a systemic and complicated problem and unless we do something differently, we’ll continue to see more lives lost.”

RELATED: Three teen girls found dead inside stolen car that drove into St. Pete pond

At Saturday night’s vigil, friends of the three say some comments about the girls, floating around social media, and in the public are upsetting.  Patricia Johnson believes the girls should be remembered for their positive contributions to society.  “They were actually very caring, loving girls,” said Johnson.

“All of that right there, it’s like, by them bringing up their past, it’s like I didn’t like that because I felt it was disrespectful towards them, because they actually changed a whole lot.”

Kashonda Cummings heard school administrators talking about the accident the day after it happened.  “In school, the principal and them was talking about it and I kinda felt like that was wrong.”  Said Cummings.  “Because they keep saying if they was never in the car or if their parents was watching them, they would be okay. ”

Kristine Hayes was also at the memorial.  She is Miller’s grandmother, and points out her granddaughter did not have a lengthy criminal record, as did the other two teens.  “She was a good kid.  She’s not like they portray her in the newspaper.  She had one charge her whole life,” said Hayes, with tears flowing down her cheek.  “And she was still a kid.  She was fifteen. ”


  1. Police: Mom admits ‘whooping’ 4-year-old found dead on birthday
  2. FHP: Driver drops cigarette, hits Hernando mom, 2 kids walking on side of road
  3. Teacher arrested for sex with student days after wife booked on similar charge
  4. WOW! Coca-Cola van stuck in sinkhole
  5. 14-month-old girl dies following dental visit
  6. Melbourne woman accused of shooting husband in genitals, report says
  7. WATCH: Three women arrested after video captures riverbank beating
  8. Tampa Bay area police agencies see spike in drug-laced candy
  9. >>Back to the homepage for breaking news and the latest headlines provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s