A horrific crash on Route 33 in Buffalo ended with 4 people losing their lives and now law enforcement officials have announced that the driver of the vehicle has been criminally charged with their deaths.

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In the early morning hours on Monday, October 24, 2022, 6 young adults were in a stolen Kia Sportage that crashed after speeding on the Kensignton Expressway near the interchange to the Scajaquada Expressway.

That crash totaled the vehicle and resulted in 5 of the 6 occupants being ejected from the car. 3 of those young adults, 14-year-old Ahjanae Harper, 16-year-old Kevin Payne, and 17-year-old Swazine Swindle died at the scene. Another young adult, 19-year-old Marcus Webster died at the Erie County Medical Center. The other young adult, a 14-year-old girl, who was ejected from the car survived the crash but had to be hospitalized with very serious injuries at ECMC.

The driver of the car, a 16-year-old male from Buffalo, whose name is being withheld due to his age, was just charged with multiple felony offenses related to the injuries, fatalities, and stolen property.

In all the Erie County District Attorney's office charged the teen with a total of 7 felonies, 4 counts of Second Degree Manslaughter, 1 count of First Degree Assault, 1 count of Second Degree Assault, and 1 count of Third Degree Criminal Possession of Stolen Property.

I cannot prove who stole the car that's why you don't see the stolen possession charge...
-John Flynn, Erie County District Attorney

Many blame this crash and the end result on the viral Kia Challenge trend that has been swirling around social media.

What Is The Kia Challenge

According to Car and Driver Magazine, the Kia Challenge is a viral trend that started on the social media app Tic Tok where people steal Kia and Hyundai cars that have a key-based ignition. Some of the videos that have been posted to social media have shown that these vehicles can sometimes be stolen by using a standard USB cable.

Officials from the Buffalo Police Department, along with other police departments from across the country, have stated that thefts of Kia and Hyundai cars have skyrocketed over the last few years. Buffalo has seen these thefts more than triple since 2020.

Since the crash, Kia and Hyundai have been distributing steering wheel locking devices to owners to help deter these thefts.

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