On Monday, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office charged five Michigan teenagers with second-degree murder after allegedly throwing a large rock off of an overpass that crashed through the windshield of a man’s car, killing him.
The incident occurred last Wednesday, Oct. 18 at around 8:30 p.m. Kenneth White, a 32-year-old construction worker, was riding home from work in the passenger seat of a van with his friend, heading south on Interstate 75 near Flint, Mich. The driver told Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell that he saw a large rock coming toward the vehicle as they were going about 70 miles per hour.
The 6-pound rock smashed through the windshield of the vehicle, striking White in the face and head and ricocheting to his chest, which caused him to lose consciousness and suffer from fatal injuries.
The driver commented that he had to pass four other vehicles disabled on the side of the road due to the rocks being thrown before he could pull over to get help for his friend. After being rushed to the hospital, White was pronounced dead.
Amiee Cagle, White’s fiancee, was distraught, telling news station WDIV Local 4, “He was a good man and a good father…For some senseless act, for it to be just a rock, just to take him so soon.”
Emotional, Cagle said that the “stupid act” took away the father of their 5-year-old son and the love of her life.
Now, five teenage boys are being held accountable for White’s death and charged as adults with one count of second-degree murder each. Moreover, they are being charged with conspiracy to commit murder, six felony counts each of malicious destruction of property, and two other lesser chargers. These were issued by Pickell and the county prosecutor, David Leyton.
Police reported that the group was responsible for throwing a tire and about 20 rocks in total, one weighing 20 pounds, off of two overpasses that night, which damaged several vehicles.
Keefer McGee, 17, told the court that he, Tyler Porter, 18, and Dylan Lahr, 17, took part in many heinous acts that night. They apparently stole steaks from a grocery store, smashed mailboxes, drove two vehicles through a cornfield amounting to $100 in damage, and smashed windows in a home with a baseball bat, before stopping on the overpass to throw rocks.
McGee testified to the rocks making impacts with the vehicles below. He also recalled how they “all laughed as they drove away,” where they went to a nearby McDonald’s to eat. They then drove home to watch a movie before deciding to return to the scene to observe the aftermath. They returned to the scene twice, in which during one of the trips a police officer took note of their license plate and lead investigators to the four.
Another passenger of a different vehicle was brutally injured as well. A 4.6-pound rock smashed through the front windshield of the car which collided with Sharon Budd’s head. A middle school language arts teacher from Ohio, she was on her way to see a show in New York with her daughter when she was assaulted.
Randy Budd, Budd’s husband, was in the backseat behind their daughter when it happened. He remembered how Sharon had just got off the phone with their son, who was about to be deployed to Afghanistan with the military, shortly before it happened. He called her injuries “the most gruesome thing” that he had ever seen.
“I’m pretty sure I was looking at brains and skull and she, remarkably, kind of came to but wasn’t saying anything. … She was just jerking, grabbing her head, so we were holding her hands down,” he said.
She was rushed to the hospital by emergency responders where she underwent surgery that night. Apparently, doctors had to remove parts of her skull and brain, and she lost the use of one eye while the other is damaged.
“To propel the size of boulder down from the Dodge Road overpass to a 70 mph vehicle that’s headed southbound, you ought to know–a reasonable person would know–that that is creating a high risk of great bodily harm, or in this case, death,” Leyton commented.
Defense Attorney, Michael Manley, said,
“This case is a tragedy of epic proportions. The public is rightfully outraged at this senseless loss of life. We only ask that people reserve final judgement until the facts can be sorted out in a court of law. We are confident once the details are learned as to each individual’s role, we will be able to fairly resolve this case with Prosecutor Leyton’s office.”
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons