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A video depicting two Las Vegas teens laughing before intentionally running over a bicyclist shows the new levels of severe actions kids are willing to commit for the sake of going viral. It involves a “Hit and Run” TikTok challenge in which teens show others how to steal certain vehicles without a key and go on joyrides.
Media reports first described the Aug. 14 death of 64-year-old retired Bell, California, Police Chief Andreas Probst as a simple “bike crash.” Struck by a 2016 Hyundai Elantra while riding his mountain bike in the early morning, he eventually died at the University Medical Center.
Meanwhile, the charges against the 17-year-old driver who fled the scene were upgraded from hit-and-run to include murder after local authorities obtained a video that showed the driver and his friend planning the deadly encounter.
“You ready,” the driver asks.
‘Yeah, yeah. Hit his *ss,” the filming passenger responds. The teens laugh as the car launches Probst over the windshield and into the air. The teen filming pans behind the car, where an image of Probst’s lifeless body can be seen on the street as the car drives away.
“Aye yo. That n*gga knocked out,” the filming passenger yells.
“We need to get out of here,” the driver responds.
A series of deadly Hit and Run Tiktok Challenge incidents
In a nation sharply divided along racial lines, much of the online discussion about the Las Vegas incident focuses on trying to identify the ethnic background of the teens.
Meanwhile, similar incidents in recent months show the dangerous viral trend goes beyond one community.
On Wednesday, Sept. 13, a teen was arrested in Huntington Beach, California in what law enforcement called a “series of intentional hit-and-run incidents.”
One bicyclist said a black Toyota sideswiped him that Sunday night. Another bicyclist told authorities he was sideswiped 15 minutes later in the same area. In a third incident, a black Toyota sedan completely struck a 70-year-old man. The first two victims survived with minor injuries, but 70-year-old Steven Gonzales died at the scene, CBS News reported.
Back in May, two people in Lodi, California died after being struck by a Kia that had bee n reported stolen. A month earlier, a bicyclist in Cary, North Carolina was struck in the back and neck with small gel orbs known as “orbeez.” Authorities believe it fits the description of a similar TikTok challenge in which teens blast unsuspecting riders with non-lethal ammunitions.
And in October 2022, six teens in a speeding Kia crashed in Buffalo, NY, killing four of the teens in the car.
The car theft-related TikTok challenges began last summer and have shown no signs of dying down. It appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma as early as August 2022.
Following that incident, Tulsa police warned residents to lock their doors and park in well-lit or high-traffic areas. They also say residents should get a steering wheel lock for their cars to combat the strange thefts.