Four teens are facing murder charges after their alleged “prank” left a man dead, police say.
The juveniles, ages 13 to 15, were reportedly tossing construction sandbags over a highway overpass on Dec. 19 when one crashed down onto a car carrying 22-year-old Marquise Byrd. The Michigan native was in the front passenger seat of a vehicle and was critically injured when the sandbag smashed through the windshield, police said. He died from blunt force trauma to his head and neck Friday morning, reported the Toledo Blade.
The Toledo Police Department issued a statement after the deadly incident.
“The four juveniles were observed by officers leaving the area of the Indiana Avenue I-75 overpass after the vehicle, in which Mr. Byrd was traveling, was struck,” the statement said. “Detectives determined the falling sandbag was not an accident, but a deliberate act, and probable cause to charge the juveniles was established.”
The teens — Pedro Salinas, Sean Carter, Demetrius Wimberly and William Parker — are facing charges including murder and felony vehicular vandalism following Byrd’s death. They are currently being held without bail at Lucas County Juvenile Justice Center, reported ABC News.
According to Shaveontae King, Byrd’s cousin, he was “energetic, outgoing, and lovable.” The 22-year-old leaves behind a fiancee and a 1-year-old son.
Although King said she has no sympathy for the boys and wants them to be tried as adults, she has one request to help her grieving family.
“My auntie has to bury her son. He’s gone. He’s never coming back,” King told The Blade. “She’s holding up the best she can.”
She continued, “I would appreciate if [the boys’ parents] could at least call my auntie and tell her they’re sorry.”
In October of this year, five teens were similarly charged with second-degree murder after allegedly throwing a rock from an overpass and killing a father of four. Ken White, 32, was killed after a rock smashed through the windshield of the car in which he was a passenger while traveling on Interstate 75 in Michigan.
According to WNEM, the teens could face life in prison if convicted
“I don’t think this was a deliberate attempt to take somebody’s life,” said Genessee County Prosecutor David Leyton of the charges. “It was a willful and wanton act that resulted in somebody’s death.”