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Buffalo Police: 4 teens killed in crash on 198 ramp

The crash happened around 6:45 a.m., shutting down the inbound Kensington Expressway to all traffic for more than an hour.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Police say four teenagers are dead and two other people were in the hospital after an early-morning crash at the inbound Kensington Expressway (33) and the Scajaquada Expressway (198).

Buffalo Police say six people were in the car that crashed just before 7 a.m. Monday. Three died at the scene and a fourth died at the hospital, all ranging in age from 14 to 17 years.

“It's a horrific morning for the families, their friends, our police officers and our investigators and fire department that were there investigating this,” said Buffalo Police commissioner Joseph A. Gramaglia. “This is a terrible terrible outcome for such young kids that had their entire lives in front of them.”

The two other people in the vehicle, including the driver, were taken to the hospital. One of the victims, a passenger, was in the trauma intensive care unit. 

Investigators believe the vehicle involved in the crash was stolen Sunday night around 8 p.m. It was a Kia (model and year unknown), and Gramaglia believes the alleged robbery was linked to the popular Kia Challenge TikTok trend that shows thieves across the country how to steal Kias built in the last decade without a key and the use of just a USB cord.

The trend has resulted in a nationwide rise in stolen Kias, reported by various police departments across the country. 

“They're very easy unfortunately to steal,” Gramaglia said. “You can look up the information that’s been put out there. There are numerous cities across the country that are looking at looking into or have filed lawsuits against Kia because of the ease that they are able to steal these cars.”

The driver of the vehicle, identified only as a 16-year-old male, was treated at the hospital and released into Buffalo Police custody while investigators continue their investigation. He is expected to be charged Tuesday morning.

“It's an extremely sad morning in the city of Buffalo when you lose four young lives in a horrific accident like this,” said district attorney John Flynn. “And now we need to do a thorough investigation to find out what happened and what the appropriate charges are against the driver of this vehicle.”

Buffalo Public Schools board President Louis Petrucci said that the students involved in the crash went to Riverside and International Prep. Crisis teams will be at those schools on Tuesday to help anyone affected by the crash.

The accident caused traffic backups on the Kensington during rush hour throughout the morning. The Kensington Expressway westbound at the 198 reopened around 1:45 p.m. Monday. 

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