Teens arrested after alleged street racing crash kills 16-year-old passenger

Tampa police arrested and charged two teenagers for a street racing incident that ended in a crash and the death of a 16-year-old boy riding in one of the cars.

Police said Austin Lewis, 17, and Kristopher Trenker, 19, were racing cars on Adamo Drive near 50th Street on July 24, reaching nearly 120 miles an hour. 

Investigators say Lewis was driving under the influence. Payton Fordyce was in the back seat when Lewis swerved to avoid hitting a passing vehicle. They crashed, killing 16-year-old Payton. 

Tampa police say Lewis' blood alcohol level was 0.08 at the time.

Two teens arrested after alleged street racing crash killed passenger

Two teens arrested after alleged street racing crash killed passenger

"They hit a cement culvert. The vehicle overturned multiple times, and at this point the 16-year-old that was a passenger in the rear seat was partially ejected from the vehicle," said Lt. Lisa Parashis of the Tampa Police Department. 

Fordyce died at the scene from his injuries.

Friends and family said their final words to Fordyce last week. The 16-year-old boy was a student at Spoto High School, and played in youth baseball and a football league organizations. His death created whole in his mother and sister’s hearts.

"It’s been a lot. It’s been definitely life changing. It’s been really hard I’ve definitely lost a piece of myself. He was my only son. And it’s been a lot to adjust to for sure," said Brittany Bunnell, Payton Fordyce’s mother.

Payton Fordyce with his mother, Brittany Bunnell 

On Wednesday, Tampa police arrested both subjects. Lewis is charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. Trenker is charged with vehicular homicide, operating an unregistered vehicle, and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

"It’s a very senseless act and that 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," said Bunnell. 

His mom said one action can severely change a life. 

"I would just want everyone and these kids to know that it’s not okay. When you’re driving with somebody else’s life in your hands that should be taken serious, and this was just so senseless," Bunnell said. "He was the man of our family. We don’t have anyone else now. 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."

Fordyce’s friends and family said it's been a very difficult few weeks for them as they grieve. Tampa police said they go into schools and talk to kids about why racing and drunk driving are so dangerous.