(Reuters) - Four Ohio teenagers were charged with murder on Wednesday, accused of tossing a sandbag from a highway overpass in Toledo that killed a passenger in a car last week, prosecutors said.
A 13-year-old and three 14-year-olds were arraigned on charges of murder and vehicular vandalism in Lucas County Juvenile Court, according to Lori Olender, deputy chief of the juvenile division in the county prosecutor’s office. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 4.
Authorities initially charged the teen-age boys with felonious assault. The murder charge was added after the passenger, 22-year-old Marquise Byrd of Warren, Michigan, died of his injuries on Friday.
The youths have been in custody since the Dec. 19 incident, Olender said.
Toledo police said Byrd was struck by a construction sandbag that crashed through the windshield of the car in which he was a front seat passenger as it traveled through Toledo on Interstate 75.
“Detectives determined the falling sandbag was not an accident, but a deliberate act and probable cause to charge the juveniles was established,” police said in a statement.
“There were statements made by these youths admitting that they were throwing rocks,” Olender said. “The sandbag that we know was thrown did cause the death of the victim.”
Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Frank McGurty and Tom Brown