Florida officer injured after being struck by teen driving stolen car, police say

A Florida police sergeant was hospitalized Monday night after a 15-year-old driving a stolen car crashed into the officer's vehicle, authorities say.

St. Petersburg police told Fox13 the sergeant was heading west on 18th Avenue South when his car was struck by a blue Toyota Camry driving north on 7th Street South. Investigators say the teenage driver ran a stop sign at the intersection. The sergeant and three passengers from the Camry were taken to a local hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

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The 15-year-old was arrested on outstanding warrants, the news station reported. Officials say charges will be filed against him, but they are still searching for the owner of the car.

The unmarked patrol car after Monday night's crash.

The unmarked patrol car after Monday night's crash. (Fox 13)

Monday night's crash took place hours after Phelexis Jakara Robinson, 26, was killed in a hit-and-run accident by another suspected car thief. Robinson was trying to fix her car on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard when a person driving a stolen Infiniti sedan struck her and fled the scene. The driver in the hit-and-run has yet to be apprehended.

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Tampa-area authorities have struggled to prevent teenagers from stealing cars in recent years. A 2017 Tampa Bay Times investigation found that Pinellas County saw juveniles being arrested and charged with grand theft auto at a higher rate than any other major county in Florida.

"These kids walk through the neighborhood, they try the car doors, and if the car has a push start, they press the button and see if it works," St. Petersburg Police Chief Tony Holloway said at a Tuesday news conference. "It’s that simple ... They’re driving these cars at 70 and 80 mph, running stop signs and they do not know what that vehicle can and cannot do."

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Fox News' Kira Grant contributed to this report.

Fox News' Kira Grant contributed to this report.