Woman accused of lighting fireworks in gas-soaked SUV

By Brandie Piper

Published Feb. 27, 2014 on USAToday.com.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A woman is accused of soaking her vehicle with gasoline and lighting fireworks inside the vehicle she was driving along a highway with her children inside.

Kara Koriath, 44, is charged with two counts of first-degree assault in the incident, which she apparently initiated after giving her married boyfriend an ultimatum to leave his wife. Koriath and her children survived the accident.

Court documents accuse Koriath of waking her children, ages 16 and 13, early Nov. 20, 2013, and telling them they needed to go to the hospital because their grandmother was having a heart attack.

While driving along Interstate 270, Koriath was seen lighting an object before the 2008 GMC Acadia became engulfed in flames. The vehicle traveled off the right side of the road, hitting the guardrail and two road signs.

Fire investigators determined numerous packages of fireworks placed and tied together with fuses and pipe cleaners throughout the Acadia. Mortar shells were attached to the head rests in the vehicle.

Lighter fluid and more fireworks were found inside the vehicle’s glove compartment.

The floorboard of the driver’s side appeared to be soaked in gasoline. A lighter was found melted in debris.

Police determined the grandmother was not in the hospital. The route Koriath was taking was the same route her married boyfriend uses to take his children to school.

According to authorities, Koriath gave the man an ultimatum to leave his wife. She also sent him “goodbye” texts. One of those texts said “it will haunt you every day of your life.”

Pipe cleaners similar to the ones used in Koriath’s Acadia were found inside her home. She also left “after death type instructions” on a desk with a will and testament, new life insurance policy, and suicide letters.

Koriath’s children suffered smoke inhalation and burns.

Koriath was charged immediately after the accident with felony driving while intoxicated, second- degree assault, and child endangerment.

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