OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) —A stolen car incident led to a shooting that closed a local toll road, and inconvenienced thousands of motorists Saturday.
It began with a stolen red Camaro in Lakeland. Early Saturday, the vehicle was found on SR 429, the Western Beltway, in Osceola County.
Around 3:30 a.m., deputies tried to blow out the tires with stop sticks, but the Camaro drove around the sticks, spinning into the median.
As deputies approached the car, the driver drove at the deputy, who shot into the vehicle, hitting the 17-year-old driver, OCSO said.
A 15-year-old girl was also in the car, but she and the deputy were not hurt. The suspect was taken to a hospital, where he is described as stable.
The 17-year-old is charged with attempted murder of a law officer and grand theft auto.
Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson provided details of the incident at a late morning news conference. Sheriff Gibson said the deputy “had no choice but to do what he did and to quell the threat that he was faced with at that moment.”
Gibson said his deputy shot a driver because he feared for his life. “When you’re driving that car, which is about four thousand pounds or so give or take, that’s a weapon,” said Gibson.
The sheriff is glad that everyone survived the dangerous situation, stressing that “Every life is precious in my view and that’s the view we take here at the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. You can’t put a price tag on someone’s life.”
WESH 2 News is not naming the two teens who were in the stolen car. It’s not known whether the girl in the Camaro will face any charges.
Lakeland Police said the car was stolen Friday, and fled from police when they tried to stop it. LPD did not pursue the vehicle, as it raced away on I-4.
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