Note: we are republishing this story amid the surge in violent crime America is currently facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Five Michigan teens are charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of a 32-year-old man after a rock was thrown from an overpass.
Kenneth Andrew White, 32, of Mount Morris Township, was in the passenger seat of a van, heading south on Interstate 75, when a large rock struck the windshield. reports KDIV. The rock hit White in the chest and head. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said four other vehicles hit by rocks dropped from an overpass were waiting for authorities to arrive when the van White was in was hit. No other injuries were reported.
Authorities launched an investigation and, after receiving a tip from social media, took five teens into custody.
Now, police have announced that all five teens — 17-year-old Kyle Anger, 16-year-old Mark Sekelsky, 16-year-old Mikadyn Payne, 15-year-old Trevor Gray, and 15-year-old Alexander Miller — have been charged with second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, and six felony counts of malicious destruction of property.
According to The Washington Post, the teens will all be tried as adults and could face up to life in prison in connection with White’s death.
“It’s not a prank,” Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell told WDIV. “I don’t think anybody’s laughing. You make a bad decision, you could be spending the rest of your life in prison.”
After the teens allegedly threw rocks off the overpass, they reportedly went to a nearby McDonald’s for food. While police searched for the suspects with the help of the public, one teen turned himself in at the county jail. The others were arrested shortly after.
Police say that about 20 rocks and a tire were thrown from the overpass onto the interstate. Cars driving below were traveling at about 70 miles per hour.
White’s family was shocked by his death. His fiance, Amy Cagle, said she had to tell their 5-year-old son that his father would not be coming home.
“He was a good man and a good father,” Cagle said. “For some senseless act, for it to be just a rock, just to take him so soon.”
She added: “He took away a child’s father, and the love of my life. His stupid act took away a life.”
White’s sister, Alicia Waskoski, also commented: “I just don’t understand what a person could be thinking to even want to do something like that. To know they’re putting lives in danger by just throwing rocks over the interpass.”