Sadly, four teens were killed in a car crash in Buffalo after participating in a TikTok challenge that enables car theft. The victims included 19-year-old Marcus Webster, 17-year-old Swazine Swindle, 16-year-old Kevin Payne, and 14-year-old Ahjanae Harper. The teens were killed after crashing a stolen Kia. Two other teens reportedly survived including the 16-year-old driver and a 14-year-old girl. Both passengers were transported to the hospital and treated.
Ahjanae Harper, one victim, was a young mother who recently had a daughter. The mother was gearing up to celebrate her 15th birthday next week. Swazine Swindle’s sister remembered the teen as having a goofy personality. The teen who drove the stolen Kia was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle and criminal possession of the stolen property.
According to the reports, the teens reportedly destroyed the vehicle after participating in the Kia Challenge. If you’re unaware, the TikTok challenge shows viewers how to hot-wire Hyundais and Kias. Joseph Gramaglia, the Buffalo Police Commissioner, informed reporters that there has been an increase in car theft since the challenge became popular.
Yotam Ophir, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo communication department told WIBV,
“Isolating a specific video that seems detrimental, and assuming that it has a huge impact over people’s behavior, is just unreasonable from an empirical point of view. That’s not how media effects work.”
“Most people don’t know about these challenges, most people don’t care about these challenges, and even if they watch these videos and find them amusing, it doesn’t mean they’re going to walk out and steal a car,”
The investigation is ongoing.
#Clique, what are your thoughts?