Florida teens hit with homicide raps after 16-year-old pal killed in drag race

Florida teens hit with homicide raps after 16-year-old pal killed in drag race

A pair of Florida teens has been charged in the drag-racing death of one of their young passengers, according to reports.

Austin Lewis, 17, and Kristopher Trenker, 19, began racing each other at speeds of up to 120 mph July 24, Tampa police said.

Payton Fordyce, 16, was in the backseat of Lewis’ vehicle when Lewis suddenly swerved to avoid an oncoming car and smashed into a cement culvert.

The vehicle flipped several times and partially ejected Fordyce, killing him.

Responding police said Lewis was drunk at the time, with a 0.08 blood-alcohol level. In Florida, impairment is .08 or higher.

Tampa police arrested both Lewis and Trenker on Wednesday after an investigation.

Lewis was charged with manslaughter while driving under the influence and vehicular homicide.

Trenker is facing charges of vehicular homicide, operation of an unregistered vehicle and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Payton Fordyce with his mother, Brittany Bunnell
Payton Fordyce, 16, was in the back seat of Austin Lewis’ vehicle when he smashed into a cement culvert, police said. He’s pictured with his mother, Brittany Bunnell.

Fordyce’s shattered mother warned against the potentially fatal risks of drag-racing.

“It’s a very senseless act, and these kids should understand the severity of racing and speeding and not wearing a seat belt. Even my son, he did not have a seat belt on, and I don’t understand why not,” mom Brittany Bunnell told Fox 13.

“We don’t have anyone else now,” she said. “He was the only one. So it’s just kind of devastating that he was the only boy we had, and he was taken from us.”

Last year, a Tampa judge sentenced a teen to 24 years in prison for a 2018 drag-racing crash that killed a mom and her child.

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