NewsTreasure CoastRegion Martin County

Actions

Deputies don't know how many teens missing from car crashing into canal. Here's why

Two or Three people are missing after the Martin County Sheriff's Office said teenagers drove a stolen car into the St. Lucie River
Posted at 10:12 PM, May 07, 2024

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Sounds from a helicopter, unmarked law enforcement vehicles and searches of people's property became the reality at a relatively quiet part of Martin County on Tuesday.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office said two or three people are missing after a car stolen overnight in Boynton Beach crashed into the St. Lucie River. The agency also said one teen was dead and another two teenagers were recovered in the river.

Martin County sheriff's deputies scour the St. Lucie River after a stolen car crashed into a canal near Southwest Kanner Highway and Southeast Cove Road on May 7, 2024.

Region Martin County

17-year-old dead, possibly 2 missing after stolen car crashes into river

Scott Sutton
10:11 AM, May 07, 2024

Why the number of people missing is unknown

A spokesperson for the sheriff's office said the two teenagers didn't cooperate with law enforcement. Sheriff William Snyder said it's unclear how many people were in the car before it jumped into waters, which he said contained alligators.

"The other problem we run into is once they get wet, the helicopter loses the heat image," he told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. "So, you’ll see it. It’s very difficult."
 
WATCH BELOW: Sheriff's office helicopter tracks stolen vehicle

Martin County Sheriff's Office helicopter tracks stolen vehicle before plunging into river

An official with Martin County Fire Rescue told reporters it trains for these types of operations. He said crews can communicate with divers while they are underwater, but the water's depth is a challenge.

"They have a hard time with [the] depth of [the] water with what is actually in the water,” he told reporters.

Neighborhood searched

The river also meanders across neighborhoods and businesses near the Interstate 95 interchange on Southwest Kanner Highway. Neighbors showed WPTV's Ethan Stein security camera footage showing sheriff deputies searching boats and bushes throughout the day.

Rodger Southgate, who lives near the scene, said he saw unmarked law enforcement vehicles and was confused until a neighbor told him the story with the teenagers. He said he later saw deputies search his dock.

Rodger Southgate, who lives near the scene, said he saw deputies search his dock in Martin County. May 7, 2024
Rodger Southgate, who lives near the scene, said he saw deputies search his dock in Martin County.

“By that time, we knew the story," Southgate said. "So, once we knew what they were looking for, it didn’t necessarily freak us out but it made us concerned."

A spokesperson for the sheriff's office said the two teenagers were placed into custody, but were later released as they don't know the extent of the charges as of Tuesday night. It said they would likely face charges.

Martin County sheriff's deputies scour the St. Lucie River after a stolen car crashed into a canal near Southwest Kanner Highway and Southeast Cove Road on May 7, 2024.
Martin County sheriff's deputies scour the St. Lucie River after a stolen car crashed into a canal near Southwest Kanner Highway and Southeast Cove Road on May 7, 2024.

The Boynton Beach Police Department said the car was stolen from Mahogany Bay Drive, which correlates with an apartment complex.