Three teenagers charged with murder for throwing rocks at driver

Three teenagers in Colorado were charged with murder for throwing rocks onto a highway ended up killing the driver of an oncoming car.

Joseph Koenig, Nicholas Karol-Chik, and Zachary Kwak, all 18, were arrested late on Tuesday night for the April 19 murder of Alexa Bartell, 20.

The trio are each being charged with first-degree murder and extreme indifference, and could face additional charges after an investigation.

Bartell, a resident of Arvada, Colorado, was driving in Jefferson County around 10.45pm while speaking to a friend when a large rock struck her through her windshield.

After the call went silent, Bartell’s friend tracked her to a field in the Denver suburb, where her car had crashed immediately after the incident. According to investigators, Bartell was killed immediately when the rock struck her, not from the following crash.

Police immediately connected the incident to a crime spree that began around 10.00pm across Jefferson and Boulder Counties that night. They identified at least seven incidents of rocks being thrown at passing cars, each connected to a ‘pickup truck or SUV’ seen at each crime scene.

Investigators eventually identified Koenig, Karol-Chik, and Kwak using ‘cell phone device forensics,’ a public information officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said. The data obtained from search warrants placed the teenagers in the same area as the various attacks over the course of the night.

They also collected tips and information from the public, including dashcam footage from other drivers in the area on April 19.

The three were arrested at their homes on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the sheriff’s office said. Bartell’s family was informed immediately when the arrests were made, despite the late hour.

Investigators are unsure which teenager was driving during the attacks, but they believe all three were responsible for the rock-throwing.

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