Four teenage passengers were murdered in a high-speed collision that a 16-year-old is suspected of causing while operating a stolen SUV was arraigned on manslaughter and other charges on Tuesday.
In the meantime, the parents of the two who died have sued car manufacturer Kia, saying that their children would still be alive if the company’s vehicles were more challenging to steal.
When the Kia Sportage overturned on State Route 33 on October 24, Buffalo police said that there were a total of six teenagers inside.
The previous evening, the car had been reported stolen.
According to District Attorney John Flynn, the only person who was not thrown through the sunroof when the car hit a concrete barrier at high speed and flipped backward was the driver, who was reportedly restrained by an airbag and the steering wheel.
After receiving medical attention, the driver was discharged. A girl, 14, also made it out alive.
In Erie County Court on Tuesday, the driver—whose name was withheld—pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, assault, and possession of the stolen property.
Flynn, who reportedly objected to the release, claimed that he was freed under monitoring with an ankle monitor.
According to Flynn, the teen was charged as an adolescent, but he would argue at a hearing next week to maintain the matter in adult court.
In court, the 16-year-attorney old’s claimed that the victims were close friends.
The youngsters may have been participating in a TikTok competition that encouraged individuals to break into and steal Kia cars using cellphone chargers, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia stated following the collision.
The so-called Kia challenge demonstrated how to hot-wire Kias and Hyundai vehicles with a USB chord and a screwdriver.
Since the video was posted last summer, numerous police agencies around the nation have reported an uptick in Kia and Hyundai thefts.