Teenage Facebook Live streams her and her friend's death

Teenage Facebook Live streams her and her friend's death

The West Scranton High School student fired up Facebook Live from the highway. Moments later, everyone in her car was dead


Photo: Shutterstock

“Are you going live?”

It would be the final question Brooke Miranda Hughes would hear before a tractor-trailer ploughed into the back of her car as it crawled down Interstate 380 in Pennsylvania just after midnight Tuesday.

Chaniya Morrison-Toomey asked Brooke the question just after Brooke launched to broadcast live from her moving vehicle, according to the Scranton Times-Tribune.

The final moments of their young lives - marked by a flash of lights, screeching tires and then seven minutes of blackness - were captured on the live-streamed video after Brooke, sitting behind the wheel, held her phone near her face for the rest of the world to see.

Brooke, left, and Chaniya

Brooke, 18, and Chaniya, 19, were declared dead at the scene. The driver of the truck that killed them was uninjured.

Video of the incident, which began so innocently, was posted on Brooke’s Facebook page, where it has been watched more than 7,000 times.

Parachute kids, alone and far from home

Facebook Live launched in 2015. Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, told CBS News in April that Facebook Live allows users to bring “a little TV studio” to their pockets.

It was via Facebook Live that Diamond Reynolds broadcast the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of her boyfriend during a traffic stop in a Twin Cities suburb.

“Stay with me,” she told Philando Castile. Her Facebook video quickly spread across social media and cable news, turning the deadly July confrontation into one of the highest-profile fatal police shootings in recent years. Last month, prosecutors in Minnesota charged the officer who killed Castile with second-degree manslaughter.

Diamond Reynolds broadcast the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of her boyfriend during a traffic stop in a Twin Cities suburb.
Photo: Reuters

Following the fatal crash in the Poconos this week, Samantha Piasecki, a 17-year-old friend of the two victims, told the Times-Tribune that she had been in the car with Brooke and Morrison-Toomey earlier that night. But she asked to be dropped off at her mother’s house in Scranton, before the wreck.

She told the paper that she ended up watching the crash video around 3am the same night.

“It broke me,” she said.

“They were both down-to-Earth people,” she told the paper.

“They had good personalities. They had smiles that could light up dark rooms. Anytime you were with them it was always fun.”

Samantha says she’s guilt-ridden now because she feels like she “could have stopped it somehow” had she still been in the car.

Police say Brooke was driving slowly in the right southbound lane of I-380 when the wreck occurred. One of the car’s wheels had been replaced with a spare tire, but it did not have a flat tire, as some early reports suggested, police said.

Face-biting teen acted like he had schizophrenia

Police said the investigation is ongoing. They have not determined whether the driver of the tractor-trailer, Michael Jay Parks, will face charges.

The video, however unsettling, is not considered a violation of Facebook’s community standards, according to a Facebook spokesman.

“However,” the spokesman added, “a graphic warning screen has been added, auto-play has been disabled and it is not accessible for users under the age of 18.

“Additionally, the user’s account has been memorialised.”

Brooke was a student at West Scranton High School. Her Facebook page says she worked at McDonalds.

On a GoFundMe page started to raise money for Chaniya's funeral, she was described as having an “energetic” spirit.

“Her jokes and faces that made you laugh,” the page’s description says. “Although Chaniya was only 19 she was full of so much life, positivity, and love that she could bring anyone out of the darkest place and make you think the world was sunshine and rainbows.”

Since Facebook Live launched in April, millions have used the service to offer a glimpse into the big moments and small details of their lives.

The view isn’t always pretty.

In July, a Georgia mother went on her daughter’s Facebook to broadcast herself beating the teenager - punishment for posting sexually explicit pictures on the site.

“This is my page now,” Shanavia Miller told the camera after she fixed her hair. “Now I’m gonna need y’all to send this viral. Please share this because I’m not done. More to come.”

The deaths of the two Pennsylvania teens came shortly after a 20-year-old Rhode Island man broadcast himself on Facebook Live driving erratically and reaching speeds up to 115 mph before hitting a dump truck, skidding across three lanes and slamming into a median, according to ABC News.

In that video, Onasi Olio Roja can be seen weaving in and out of traffic, blasting rap music and yelling, “Let’s get it papi!” - moments before he totals his car.

Marina Lonina, left, and rapist Raymond Boyd Gates.

“How lucky we are that no one else was hurt,” said Captain John Allen of the Rhode Island State Police said. “It’s a grand slam of things not to do.”

He was charged with reckless driving and operating a suspended license and arraigned from his hospital bed over the weekend, according to CBS affiliate WPRI.

In February, an Ohio teenager pleaded not guilty after she was accused of using a different live-streaming service, Periscope, to broadcast the rape of her 17-year-old friend. Marina Lonina, 18, a student at New Albany High School, outside Columbus, was attempting to record the assault as evidence, her attorney, Sam Shamansky maintained.

“She’s in the habit of filming everything with this app called Periscope,” Shamansky acknowledged at a court hearing in April. “She does everything possible to contain the situation even to the point of asking while it’s being filmed to these Periscope followers, ‘What should I do now? What should I do now?’”

Lonina faces charges of rape, sexual battery, kidnapping and pandering sexually oriented matter involving a juvenile and is due to appear in court on December 12, according to the Columbus Dispatch.


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