Four teenagers in Buffalo died in a car crash that authorities believe may be linked to a disturbing new TikTok challenge.
The fatal victims and a surviving teen were riding in a stolen Kia driven by their 16-year-old friend when the speeding car crashed Monday morning, ejecting all five passengers.
Four of the passengers, ranging in age from 14 to 17, were killed, police said. The driver was treated at a hospital and released and the lone surviving passenger was hospitalized in intensive care.
The teenagers may have gotten the idea to steal the car from a TikTok challenge that encourages people to break into Kia and Hyundai cars with phone chargers, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told reporters Monday.
The so-called “Kia challenge,” shows TikTok viewers how to hotwire the two makes of cars with a USB cord and a screwdriver and dares them to participate in the illegal activity.
Police departments across the country have reported an increase in thefts of Kia and Hyundai cars since the first video was posted over the summer.
A class-action lawsuit was filed last month in Orange County, California alleging that Kias built between 2011 and 2021 and Hyundais built between 2015 and 2021 lack anti-theft machinery called engine immobilizers which makes them easier targets of theft.
The Kia involved in the deadly crash Monday morning had been reported stolen the night before.