Driver sometimes blames himself after rock thrown at van kills his friend

Kyle Anger, of Clio, is led into the courtroom for his arraignment in front of Judge William Crawford on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, in Genesee County District Court in downtown Flint, Mich. Anger is among a group of Michigan teenagers who are charged with second-degree murder in a rock-throwing incident on Interstate 75. (Terray Sylvester /The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)

(ABC News) — The driver of a van hit by a thrown rock that killed his friend in the passenger seat occasional points a finger at himself, he told a Michigan TV station.

“I sometimes blame myself,” Steve Amthor said. “It’s just, I don’t know what to think of all of this.”

Amthor was driving south on 1-75 in Genesee County, Michigan, last week when a rock crashed through the windshield and hit Kenneth White, a 32-year-old father, in the face, according to authorities and CBS Bay City affiliate WNEM-TV. It then ricocheted to his chest, county Sheriff Robert Pickell told ABC News.

Amthor told WNEM, “We were less than five miles from his house. Next thing you know, I’m pulled over trying to keep him from bleeding out.”

He said White’s father is his best friend.

“Having to talk to my best friend on the side of the highway and tell him, ‘I did everything I could to save your son,'” Amthor said. “Sometimes, I wish I would’ve told his dad, ‘No, I didn’t have a spot for him.’”

Related Content: Teens could face life in prison if convicted of murder after rock thrown at van kills passenger

Amthor said he and White became friends three years ago when White moved to the area and was looking for a job.

“I brought his boy in to do some work for me. And he was a good kid,” Amthor said. “He was my work partner. He’s someone I would talk to every day. Even days where we didn’t work I still talked to him. I’m going to miss him.”

Five teenage boys have been charged as adults with second-degree murder in the case, and they could face life in prison, if convicted, Pickell said.

The teen accused of throwing the rock from a bridge on Oct. 18 is 17 years old, Sheriff Pickell said, and the other four teens are 15.

About 20 rocks were found strewn on the highway, Pickell said.

The teens were formally arraigned Tuesday and all pleaded not guilty. Their next court date is scheduled for Nov. 2.

One defense attorney, Erwin Meiers, said, “On behalf of my client, we will wait for the facts to play out as to the culpability of all the defendants in this matter. This unfortunate situation will affect all of the parties for the rest of their lives. There are no winners here. My client is innocent until proven otherwise.”

Another defense attorney, Michael Manley, said, “This case is a tragedy of epic proportions. The public is rightfully outraged at this senseless loss of life. We only ask that people reserve final judgment until the facts can be sorted out in a court of law. We are confident once the details are learned as to each individual’s role, we will be able to fairly resolve this case with Prosecutor [David] Leyton’s office.”

Amthor said White constantly talked about his young son and fiancee, and now Amthor is vowing to “do everything I can to see that that boy, his son, is taken care of and has birthdays and Christmas presents. He’s not going to get to grow up without a father like I did. I think that’s what hurts the worst.”