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10 Seemingly Innocent Pranks That Ended In Tragedy

by Amanda
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Chances are we’ve all either pranked or been pranked by someone at some point in our lives. While the usual experience is embarrassment followed by laughter, for the people on this list, what started out as an innocent prank for a laugh ended in utter tragedy.

10Teens Cover Stop Sign, Kill Two Seniors

1- stop sign
Two Ohio teens, Seth Stonerock and Derek Greenlee, loved to pull pranks. They would often post about them on Facebook. In August 2011, the duo posted about their latest prank: covering a stop sign in plastic wrap so it was barely visible.

That afternoon, two sisters, 80-year-old Jeanne Shea and 85-year-old Mary Sprangler were out for a drive, heading north on Huber-Hitler Road. Not seeing the covered stop sign, Shea drove straight through and got hit by an SUV that had the right of way.

Mary died instantly, and Jeanne later died in the hospital. The driver of the SUV did not suffer any serious injuries.

Both teens were charged with tampering with a traffic control device and involuntary manslaughter. Stonerock received a four-year sentence. The judge in the case called his actions “childish and juvenile.” Greenlee, however, had his charges dismissed due to lack of evidence once it was found that he’d helped to buy the plastic wrap but did not take part in covering the sign. He’d watched from the vehicle, telling Stonerock that he thought it was a bad idea, but he still did nothing to stop it.

Stonerock was released after serving eight months of his four-year sentence.

9Man Kills Friend With A Fake Gun

2- fake gun
Best friends Nicholas Bell and Jeffrey Charbonneau were staying with a mutual friend over Thanksgiving weekend in 2010. Charbonneau fell asleep and Bell decided to play a joke on his friend. He grabbed what he thought was an air rifle and, in an attempt to scare Charbonneau, fired a shot. The air rifle turned out to be a very real .22 caliber hunting rifle. Charbonneau was hit in the chest and died at the scene.

Bell was charged with simple assault with a weapon, reckless endangerment, and manslaughter. In court, Bell was grief stricken that his practical joke killed his best friend, saying that his actions were stupid and careless. But it was not the first time Bell had shot his friend. A video from 2009 shows Charbonneau bleeding after being shot by Bell with a BB gun. Bell can be heard laughing in the background.

Bell pled no contest to the charges. He received one year in prison for the lesser charges and was given seven years deferred for the manslaughter charge. Hopefully, he’s finally learned his lesson about shooting people as a joke.

8Fireman Dies Chasing Vandals

3- fireman
On an October evening in 2010, a group of presumably bored teenagers in Alabama decided to go out and roll houses with toilet paper for fun.

After rolling a couple houses, they moved on to their next one, the home of 34-year-old James Luther McRae, a local fireman and newlywed. McRae saw the teens in his yard and called 911, thinking they were about to break in. The teens fled, getting into their vehicle and driving away. McRae decided to chase after them to get the license plate number. He lost control of his pickup truck on a curve, drove through a fence, and because he was not wearing his seat belt, he was ejected when the vehicle overturned. He died at the scene of the accident.

The teens, all under 18, were interviewed by police but were not charged in McRae’s death. Police, however, promised a crackdown on local pranks, saying they planned to charge anyone out rolling or egging homes.

7Teen Eggs The Wrong Vehicle

In 2006, eighth grader Danny Crawford and two friends were egging cars. One of those eggs hit the Jeep that Michael Shane Gross Jr. was the passenger of. His father, Michael Sr., was the driver. The older man stopped the vehicle and chased the teens into an alley while his son got out of the vehicle with a .9mm pistol, firing shots at the teens. A bullet hit Crawford in the shoulder and exited his jaw. The young boy died at the scene.

The police found the Jeep right away, but it took months to find the murder weapon. It was finally found hidden under the hood of the Jeep. The gun was analyzed, but DNA and fingerprints were not able to identify a shooter. An arrest was only possible years later when the father changed his story and implicated his son. He’d initially said that a man by the name of “T” had borrowed the Jeep that night. He finally came clean about what really happened and avoided prosecution by testifying against his son. Michael Jr. pled guilty to tampering with evidence and voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

6Business Owner Shoots Teen Over Stolen Balloon

5- balloon
The students of Service High School in Anchorage, Alaska, had a long-standing tradition—a scavenger hunt. In 1992, Clyde Thompson and a group of friends decided to participate. On the list of 46 items to collect was a helium balloon on top of Lo-Mark furniture store.

Thompson and his friends climbed the store to retrieve the balloon but were seen by its owner, who came out with a gun and began firing warning shots in the air to scare the teens away. One of those shots hit Thompson in the back as he was running to the truck. He died in the back of the truck as his friends raced to get him to the hospital.

The store’s owner, whose name was not released, maintained that he did not intend to hit anyone. He only meant to scare them away and had no idea he had hit Thompson. The business owner was not charged in the death of Thompson.

5Halloween Prankster Accidentally Kills Himself

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Jordan Morlan, 16, was a hardworking honor student at Fern Creek High in Kentucky. He dreamed of being a Marine and loved Halloween and trying to scare his little sister.

In late September 2013, Jordan had been decorating the family yard in anticipation of Halloween. Among the decorations, he had hung a noose from a tree. Later that afternoon, his little sister went to their mother saying that Jordan was hanging from a tree and not moving. Their mother, Ginger Rodriguez, at first dismissed her daughter, telling her that it was just a joke her brother was playing on her. But she became worried when the little girl said that he had drool running down his mouth.

Ms. Rodriguez ran to the yard but was unable to get her son down. Paramedics were able to get him down and rushed him to the hospital. It was too late. Young Jordan was placed on life support, but he died shortly after from organ failure.

According to the police, who classified his death as accidental, Jordan must have become disorientated after putting the noose around his neck and had then passed out when it tightened.

4Police Officer Has Fatal Heart Attack Chasing Students

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Every year, seniors at St. Charles East High School in Illinois would break into the school in order to steal a golf cart and drive it into the school’s retention pond. This is exactly what five students were doing in 2005 when it all went horribly wrong.

Shortly after 1:00 AM, the school’s janitor saw the students breaking into the sports center. He called the police, and the students fled. Two, however, came back to retrieve the bolt cutters they’d left at the scene. Sgt. Daniel Figgins was still at the school when they came back, and he gave chase, pursuing the suspects on foot. The teens ignored his repeated orders to stop. It was during this chase that he suffered a heart attack. Backup found him unresponsive in a field, and he died a short time later at the hospital.

The police were able to track down the teens from the license plate number the janitor had written down. The teens were charged with attempted burglary and possession of burglary tools. They were not charged in the officer’s death. They also faced disciplinary action from the school.

Sgt. Daniel Figgins was a well-liked and respected member of the police force. He left behind a wife and two daughters.

3Track Star Dies In Surprise Gone Wrong

In 2013, the Lal family moved out of their home in Longmont, Colorado, and moved to nearby Niwot. Family friend Nerrek Galley, 21, and the Lals’ 15-year-old son stayed behind in the recently vacated home in Longmont to secure it.

Eighteen-year-old Premila Lal and her 12-year-old cousin, whose name has not been released, decided to prank Premila’s brother and Galley. They thought it would be funny to hide in a closet, make a bit of noise, and jump out at the two guys.

Galley and the brother heard the noises and made the reasonable assumption that there was an intruder in the home. Galley, a gun enthusiast, armed himself and gave a gun to the 15-year-old, and they began searching the home.

As they walked past one of the closets, they heard a loud scream. The door opened, and someone jumped out at them. Galley, now thinking his suspicions of an intruder to be correct, opened fire. It was then that Galley realized that he’d shot Premila.

They rushed Premila to Longmont United Hospital. Hours later, she was pronounced dead.

Galley was not charged with her death but was charged with reckless endangerment, child abuse, and allowing a minor to have a firearm.

2Teen Killed During Retaliation Prank

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On the night of February 15, 2014, 15-year-old Adrian Broadway and six friends went out to dinner and a movie. It was then that they decided to get back at another friend for an earlier prank he had pulled on the group at Halloween.

The teens pulled up to their friend’s house, whose name has not been released, and slathered the car parked in his family’s driveway with mayonnaise and eggs, then covered it with toilet paper and leaves. After completing their prank, the seven teens piled into their vehicle to leave. That’s when a man later identified as 48-year-old Willie Nobel, their friend’s father, came out with a gun and began firing on the teens. One of the bullets hit Adrian in the head. The driver was able to flee to a nearby store, where he called police. Adrian, who was in the passenger’s seat, later died from her injuries at the hospital.

Mr. Nobel was charged with first-degree murder, one count of a terroristic act, and five counts of aggravated assault. It’s interesting to note that he did not call police while the teens vandalized his vehicle nor did he call them after opening fire on them. His case is still pending.

1Bullied Teen Dies In Classroom

SHOCKING footage of teen being bullied by classmates

Seventeen-year-old Sergei Casper, who attended Polytechnic College Number 8 in Russia, was described as a good guy, a hard worker who loved art and performing on stage. It was this love, perhaps, that gave other students a reason to bully him. In December 2014, that bullying went too far.

Intent on pranking Sergei, a group of his fellow classmates grabbed him in the hallway and covered him in plastic wrap until he was unable to move. They brought him to the bathroom and dunked him in the toilet, then dragged him to the classroom.

Casper lost his balance and fell forward into the teacher’s desk, crushing his esophagus. He then fell to the floor, where his classmates continued to laugh at him. It was only after they realized how serious the situation was that they called an ambulance. The teen later died at the hospital. As if the whole thing wasn’t disgusting enough, the teacher was sitting at her desk the entire time and saw what was happening . . . and did nothing to stop it.

The school denies that they knew about the bullying, though a few students said that it had been going on for months. One of the participants in this vile act took little responsibility for his actions, saying it was just a joke that went bad.

The school expelled the students, and police say they are still investigating.

Amanda once gave self-tanner to someone telling them it was just moisturizer, turning them Oompa Loompa orange. Thankfully, she was shot.

fact checked by Jamie Frater