Car crash that killed four teenagers may be linked to auto theft TikTok challenge

Oct 26 2022, 5:32 pm

A car crash that took four Buffalo teenagers’ lives may be linked to TikTok challenge involving auto theft, authorities say.

On Monday morning, a 16-year-old driving a stolen Kia with five friends and was speeding on the expressway when the car crashed and ejected all passengers. Only two people, including the driver, survived the accident but needed intensive care at a local hospital. The driver will appear in court in November.

The names of the killed teenagers are Marcus Webster (19), Swazine Swindle (17), Kevin Payne (16), and Ahjanae Harper (14). According to a report from WGRZ-TV, Ahjanae is survived by her daughter, who is just a few months old.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told the media that the car crash may have been the result of a dangerous TikTok trend.

It’s called the “Kia challenge” and revolves around stealing Kia and Hyundai vehicles using just a USB cable. The hack works on Kia models built between 2011 and 2021, and Hyundai models manufactured between 2015 and 2021.

@sophiestumbles Tik tok is the realest for teaching people you dont need a key to drive a Hyundai!! #hyundai #kia #carbreakin #USB #cartheft #fyp #cars ♬ original sound – Sophie

In August, TikTokers started talking about ways to prevent car thieves from using the method. The increase in Kia and Hyundai thefts also prompted a class action lawsuit.

@roos_4_ever Kia owners beware! #stolenvehicle #usb #usbcord #autotheft #wtf ♬ original sound – user7848286239437

US news organizations also raised concern over the trend and spoke to car owners who lost their vehicles to the challenge.

@fox12oregon Some Kia owners are taking precautions following a TikTok challenge. #crime #portland #pdx #pnw #tiktokchallenge #kia #news #fyp ♬ original sound – KPTV FOX 12 Oregon

Canadian Kia and Hyundai drivers need not worry though.

According to the manufacturers, Canadian models are equipped with a safety feature that’ll keep you from becoming a target.

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