Brooke Miranda Hughes was streaming Facebook Live video when she got into a fatal crash on Tuesday, leading to a fiery wreck that killed both Hughes and her passenger.
The teen’s final video has gone viral this week, a morbid reminder of the power of social media and the apparent perils of using mobile devices while driving.
Hughes and her passenger, 19-year-old Chaniya Morrison-Toomey, were traveling on Pennsylvania’s Interstate 380 near Tobyhanna when Hughes started to film a live video, People reported.
In the video of Brooke Hughes’s car crash, which has since been deleted, Morrison-Toomey could be heard asking, “Are you doing live?”
The Facebook Live video then showed a flash inside the car and the sound of screeching tires, the Scranton Times-Tribune reported. State police investigators said the pair were traveling very slowly in the right lane of the expressway and were driving on a spare tire doughnut when a tractor trailer slammed into their car from behind.
The driver of the truck was unhurt, and police have not yet said if the man will face charges. Police said the car was so badly burned that they could not visually identify either of the teens killed in the crash.
A friend of the deceased teens said she was in the car earlier that night but was dropped off at her mother’s house in Scranton before the fatal crash.
“They were both down-to-Earth people,” Samantha Piasecki, 17, told the Scranton Times-Tribune. “They had good personalities. They had smiles that could light up dark rooms. Anytime you were with them it was always fun.”
But Piasecki also expressed guilt that she was not in the car at the time of the crash, saying she “could have stopped it somehow.”
The Facebook Live video of the fatal car crash was posted to the page of Brooke Miranda Hughes and viewed more than 7,000 times before being taken down. Piasecki said she saw the video at 3 a.m.
“It broke me,” she said.
Teen driver broadcast her and friend's death in fatal crash on Facebook Live https://t.co/q5beb1xlVR— We Are Marmalade (@WeAreMarmalade) December 9, 2016
The video remained on Hughes’s Facebook page after the crash, and a spokesperson for the site said that videos graphic in nature are not necessarily deleted.
“People watching Live video can report potential violations of our Community Standards, and we will take the appropriate action,” Andrea Saul, a Facebook spokeswoman, told the Scranton Times-Tribune. “We also encourage people to contact law enforcement if they see a Live stream in which someone is in danger.”
Although the video of the fatal crash was taken down by someone with control of the Facebook page, police said they plan to use the footage in their investigation of the wreck.
The family of Chaniya Morrison-Toomey has started a GoFundMe page to pay for her funeral expenses. In a message posted on the page, family members said Chaniya was remembered for her sense of humor and kind spirit.
“Her energy that you loved along with her fast paced work ethic made us all in love. 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. Even though she is gone she will never be forgotten.”
It was not yet clear how the Facebook Live video of the fatal car crash ended up on the page of Brooke Miranda Hughes. Facebook Live videos require someone to push a button on the phone to post it online, and the video may show how it happens. After roughly seven minutes of darkness after the crash, a man could be heard speaking and a bearded face was seen just before the video ended.
[Featured Image by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images]