BUFFALO, N.Y. — Police say four teenagers are dead following a one-car crash in Buffalo Monday. They have been identified as Marcus Webster, 19, Swazine Swindle, 17, Kevin Payne, 16, and Ahjanae Harper, 14.
The crash took place at 6:40 a.m. near where the 33 Expressway and Route 198 meet, according to authorities.
Buffalo Police Department Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia says six passengers were traveling inside of a Kia Sportage, which was reported stolen Sunday evening, when it crashed into a wall on the expressway.
The 16-year-old who police say was driving and also not wearing a seat belt was treated and released from ECMC into BPD custody. He has been charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree. He is due to appear back in court on November 15.
A 14-year-old female who was also a passenger in the vehicle has been upgraded to good condition at ECMC.
"This is a horrific morning,” said Gramaglia. “A horrific morning for the families. For the friends. For our police officers, investigators and fire department that were there investigating this. This is a terrible, terrible outcome for such young kids that had their entire lives in front of them."
Gramaglia told reporters Monday that the teens may have been participating in a TikTok challenge that encourages people to break into Kia cars using cellphone chargers.
The so-called Kia challenge, first posted over the summer, shows how to hot-wire Kia and Hyundai cars with a USB cord and a screwdriver. Many police departments around the country have reported increases in Kia and Hyundai thefts since the video was posted.
Gramaglia says his accident investigation unit believes excessive speed played a factor.