Buffalo teen guilty in high-speed crash of stolen Kia that killed 4 passengers

A Buffalo teenager who was behind the wheel of a stolen SUV involved in a high-speed crash that killed four passengers pleaded guilty Thursday to manslaughter and other charges.

The 16-year-old appeared in Erie County Court as an adolescent offender. He is expected to be sentenced to 15 months to four years in prison.

A total of six teens were in the Kia Sportage when it crashed on state Route 33 on Oct. 24, Buffalo police said. The car had been reported stolen the previous night.

A 14-year-old girl and three males, ages 16, 17 and 19, died after being ejected through the glass sunroof when the vehicle slammed into a concrete embankment and flipped backward, authorities said. A second 14-year-old girl survived.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at the time that the teens may have been participating in a TikTok challenge encouraging people to break into and steal Kia cars using cellphone chargers.

The driver pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree manslaughter and single counts of assault and possession of stolen property, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. Sentencing is scheduled for August.

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