The two teenagers along with three friends were in a two-door car inhaling LPG, or liquid petroleum gas. They were passing around the canister when Tristian flicked a lighter, causing an explosion.
Glenn Marshall, the prosecuter, was quoted in One News describing the incident:
"Blue flame rolled around the ceiling of the vehicle. All the occupants panicked and you can imagine that there was pandemonium in the vehicle at the time with people screaming trying to get out of the car."
Crystal River, the owner of the car, said that they had been joking about the risks of dying and what they would do if one of them got into trouble,
She cried when she talked about the explosion and getting out of the car. Thomas Hillman had been sitting behind her. She said,"I didn't pop the seat," and that she saw Tristian pulling Thomas out of the car. After that, she witnessed Tristian returning to the car for the LPG bottle, turning it off, and taking it down the street.
"Then we were talking about lighting (cigarette) lighters and Thomas had his huff and Tristian flicked the lighter."
Alixandria Hilliard, another passenger, thought she remembered Thomas "partly walking beside the accused and being partly dragged to safety," while making grunting noises.
The court is trying to prove whether or not flicking the lighter went beyond carelessness into gross negligence.