TikTok challenge may have killed four teenagers


A car crash that killed four teenagers may have been linked to a TikTok challenge, a police commissioner has said.

A total of six teenagers were in a speeding Kia that crashed around 6:30 a.m. Monday, Buffalo police said. The car was reported stolen on Sunday evening.

All five passengers were ejected from the vehicle, police said. Four of them, aged 14 to 17, were killed. The fifth passenger was hospitalized in intensive care and the 16-year-old driver was treated in a hospital and discharged.

The driver was ticketed for criminal possession of stolen property and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. The Erie County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the crash and plans to file additional charges, spokesperson Kait Munro said. It was unclear if the driver had an attorney who could speak for him.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told reporters on Monday that the teens may be taking part in a TikTok challenge that encourages people to break into Kia cars using cell phone chargers.

The so-called Kia Challenge, first released over the summer, shows how to hot-wire Kia and Hyundai cars with a USB cord and screwdriver. Numerous police departments across the country have reported an increase in Kia and Hyundai thefts since the video was released.

A class action lawsuit filed in September in Orange County, Calif., alleges Kias built between 2011 and 2021 as well as Hyundais built between 2015 and 2021 lack anti-theft parts called engine immobilizers, which make cars easier to fly than other models. The lawsuit seeks damages from the automakers and a nationwide recall.

Representatives for Kia and Hyundai did not respond to emails seeking comment.


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