BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Four teenagers have been pronounced dead and two more were injured as the result of a crash where the westbound Route 33 lanes meet Route 198, Buffalo police said.
Officers responded to this area, where a vehicle rolled over, at approximately 6:40 a.m.
The age ranges of the identified occupants were ages 14-17, according to police. The names of those who died, all of whom were Buffalo residents, were shared by police on Tuesday afternoon:
- Marcus Webster, 19
- Swazine Swindle, 17
- Kevin Payne, 16
- Ahjanae Harper, 14
A 14-year-old female passenger is in good condition at ECMC while the 16-year-old driver was treated and released. He has been charged with third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.
Five of the six occupants, all but the driver, were ejected. Three of the four were pronounced dead at the scene.
Both survivors are Buffalo residents. The driver, whose name was not shared by police, is scheduled to be back in court on October 28.
The car, which was a Kia, was reported stolen from the City of Buffalo at approximately 8 p.m. Sunday night. The 16-year-old is in police custody and charges are pending. Police believe that excessive speed played a factor in the accident and the driver was not wearing a seat belt.
Prior to Tuesday, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said that “most likely” one or two charges will be filed initially. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said that the teens may have been participating in the “Kia Challenge,” a viral social media trend that encourages people to break into Kia cars using cell phone chargers.
The area reopened at approximately 1:45 p.m. Monday.
Charter School for Applied Technologies (CSAT) shared messages about a former student’s death on its website:
“On Monday, an early morning automobile accident claimed the lives of several area teens, including a former CSAT student. Because this student attended our High School up until very recently, we have dispatched additional counselors and social workers to the building. We want to reassure our families that the passing of this former student is unrelated to the tragic passing of one of our HS seniors in October. To read more about what to expect after a trauma, and how to help your children, click here.“CSAT
A letter to parents and guardians, dated October 24, read the following:
This morning, the CSAT community experienced a tragedy when a former 9th grade student passed away in an untimely manner.
Because this student was enrolled in our school until very recently, this death has profoundly affected many in the CSAT family, and therefore, we are providing notice to you that your child may also experience some reactions associated with this event. Should this be the case, please know that there are qualified staff (school counselors, social workers) on hand to help students through this difficult time.
Students will have varied reactions to the death of a peer. Many different reactions are normal in the grief process and can range from withdrawal, to crying to anger. We encourage you to openly discuss with your child(ren) their reactions and feelings regarding this. Should your child need additional support, please feel free to contact us.
Below you will find some of the common reactions that students may or may not exhibit following this type of event.
Thank you for your attention and take comfort in the fact that all of us here are committed to supporting one another through this trying time. Do not hesitate to contact us with any further concerns.
High School Principal”
The incident is still under investigation.
Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.