BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Amanda Maxwell, the mother of 14-year-old Ahjanae Harper, on Monday morning received a call that no parent ever wants to receive.
“It was a freak accident of kids just trying to live their lives, but they chose the wrong fun.”
Maxwell received the call during her prenatal appointment that her 14-year-old daughter, Ahjanae, lost her life in the crash on Route 198. She is heartbroken, and she noticed a troubling trend when her daughter was just 12 years old.
Maxwell said she didn’t know the kids her daughter was in the car with, and that she hadn’t been home since Friday.
“They sought fun, so they went and they rode in this car, and he was just driving too fast,” Maxwell said. “Who knows what happened in that car, who knows why he was going that fast? I never thought in a million years my daughter would of put herself into that type of situation. Seeing the videos, seeing how they were — like I said — she left Friday and never came back home.”
The family said they even took steps to get help from local agencies with parenting Ahjanae, but they never got that help.
“It shouldn’t take death, it shouldn’t take jail, it shouldn’t take murder for them to step in,” a family member of Ahjanae told News 4. “The system needs to be more for us. There needs to be more resources, more aid, to help the minorities and our kids.”
They wish social media platforms would flag content that encourages reckless behavior, and want people to speak up against this behavior.
“I just hope that this is an eye-opener to younger generations, to honor and listen to their father and mother,” said a family member of Ahjanae. “I just hope that people please stop using reckless behavior and violence as content to entertain people on social media platforms because this is what it’s doing.”
They’re hoping people will learn from this tragedy and will speak up when they see things happening that could endanger teenagers.
“Right now, hopefully these kids can see the hurt that they bring upon their parents, their family, to see what’s going on with them having fun,” said Michael Thomas, Ahjanae’s uncle. “It’s not fun. It’s not fun when somebody gets killed, somebody gets hurt.”
As for the 16-year-old driver that police say allegedly stole the vehicle, Ahjanae’s family hopes he will be held accountable and learn from what happened.
“At the end of the day, you can’t just blame him, because they all chose to get into that car, but I fault him for having to get all of those kids,” said Maxwell. “Even though my kid and those other parents lost their children and they lost their lives, he has to live with that.”
Ahjanae was just 14 years old, and leaves behind her 5-month-old daughter, Tru. Her family is raising money for funeral costs, and they plan on having a vigil this Sunday in her and the other victims’ honor.