A supposed prank on October 18, 2017 in Flint, Michigan involving teenage boys that went horribly wrong has made national headlines.
Prosecutors say 17-year-old Kyle Anger, 16-year-olds Mark Sekelsky and Mikadyn Payne, and 15-year-olds Alexander Miller and Trevor Gray hurled rocks, tires, and an engine piston onto I-75 from the Farrand Road overpass. They are all residents of Clio, Michigan.
The teens are all being charged with second-degree murder following the death of 32- year-old Kenneth Andrew White of Mount Morris, Michigan. He was a passenger in a van that was hit with a 6-pound rock that went through the windshield and killed him.
What makes the story disturbing is the boys drove to a dead-end lot to collect the debris on purpose to throw it over the overpass.
The rock that killed White was thrown after four vehicles were already pulled over with damage after having been hit by or run over debris.
The driver of the vehicle Mr. White was riding in couldn’t immediately pull over but had to pass other vehicles on the shoulder to do so.
All five of the boys are being charged because one of them turned himself and the rest of them in.
According to The Detroit News, “Besides the murder charge, each youth is charged with one count of conspiracy, six felony counts of malicious destruction of property and two misdemeanor counts of malicious destruction of property. All were charged as adults.”
Rock Throwing – The Question
The question for the legal system is not whether it’s a harmless prank. It is a question of whether all of the young men will be tried as adults. In addition, it is a question of whether or not they will all be facing the same sentence.
Legal counsel for all of the boys will do their own investigations into the circumstances. They will attempt to find out who threw the rock which actually killed Mr. White and who was responsible for lesser crimes.
It is possible that all five boys will still be facing second-degree murder charges or that only one boy will emerge facing that charge while the rest face different charges.
Whether or not these five boys were aware, the Michigan penal code was changed in 2003 to reflect behavior like this that isn’t actually “throwing” debris off of overpasses, such as dropping a brick.
Sadly, this is far from the first time someone has died because someone else threw or dropped things. Some people were avoiding paying for their crimes because they hadn’t thrown, but had only dropped items.
Michigan Law on Rock Throwing
The State of Michigan put the main law into effect in 1931, Act 328 of 1931. The law states:
750.394 Sec. 394. A person shall not throw, propel, or drop a stone, brick, or other dangerous objects at a passenger train, sleeping car, passenger coach, express car, mail car, baggage car, locomotive, caboose, or freight train or at a streetcar, trolley car, or motor vehicle.
Penalties for Rock Throwing Crimes Under Michigan Law
- Under the law, you could get charged with a misdemeanor and put in prison for 93 days and have to pay a fine of $100.00 just for throwing something.
- If it causes property damage, the jail sentence goes up to 1 year and fine goes up to $500.
- In the case that throwing something causes injury but not serious impairment or death, it’s a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000, or both.
- If it causes serious impairment, the penalty is 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $5,000
- In addition, if it causes death, it could put you in prison for 15 years and subject you to a fine of $10,000
- Finally, if another criminal offense arises from the same conduct, you could get charged with that penalty as well
Rock and debris throwing off of an overpass is not a prank. It has been recognized under Michigan law as a crime for a long time. It is very dangerous and people have kept dying because of this horrible mistake.
In conclusion, if you are facing charges of this nature, it is very serious. Your whole life could change because you thought you were doing something harmless. Seek professional counsel immediately.