A friend of the families of two Connetquot High School students killed in a car crash earlier this month has launched an online petition to urge the Suffolk district attorney to upgrade charges against the other driver, who police said had a revoked license.

The online petition, started by Dina Phillips, has garnered more than 770 signatures since it hit the Internet Friday. She said those who signed the petition are family, friends and friends-of-friends of the teenagers who died in the crash - Eugene Franjola, 17, of Oakdale, and Stephen Massina, 16, of Sayville.

"This is unique," said Paul Mihailidis, assistant professor of media studies at Hofstra University. "I've heard of social media used for social causes, for holding public officials accountable, for helping advocate for or against an issue. I've not encountered one where people are trying to influence a case."

Suffolk police said David Heise, 28, of Selden, was driving west on Veterans Memorial Highway on the night of April 10 when his Dodge pickup truck crashed into a BMW driven by Franjola, who was driving south on Ocean Avenue.

Heise was charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a crime punishable by up to 30 days in jail, authorities said. The investigation is continuing.

Heise and his attorney could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Bob Clifford, a spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota, would not say whether the petition would sway Spota.

Every year, Clifford said his office receives several petitions in the mail from crime victims' families asking for charges to be upgraded or for a longer prison sentence.

"It's always good to hear from the community," Clifford said.

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