Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Update: teen driver of crash that killed four charged with nine criminal counts

Posted by lapearce on August 24, 2009

When I originally saw the news back in June about a roll over crash that took the lives of 3 (later 4) teens in Florida I was heart wrenched.  When I learned that the driver responsible for the crash was 15 and unlicensed I was left asking why.

This crash happened during the last day of school. Eight teens crammed into a Ford Explorer to go to the beach for a summer party.  The vehicle sat seven people with the optional third row, five if it did not have this option, and only the driver was wearing his seat belt. A tire blew and the young, unlicensed and inexperienced driver didn’t have the skills necessary to maintain control. The SUV flipped killing Kimber Krebs, 15, John Kiely, 15, Dennis Stout, 17, and Erin Hurst, 15. Four other teens were left in critical condition the family of one, Rebecca Pilkinton, was polite enough to update me on her condition and to mention that she went to another school that started summer break earlier, so she was not ditching. I hope her and the other teens are doing well and are recovering both physically and emotionally from the wreck that took the lives of their friends.

Today that unlicensed driver was charged with four counts of driving without a license involving death; four counts of driving without a license involving serious injury; and one count of careless driving. He faces a long prison sentence if he is convicted.

I don’t even know what to say about crashes like this. They are so tragic but also so avoidable. Even know I’m misting up as I write about these lives that were lost or ruined because of some bad decisions. In my original blog post I mentioned how so much went wrong, I still believe that. What if the teens had been wearing their seat belts? What if the tires were properly maintained and didn’t blow out? What if a licensed teen was driving? What if the kids had stayed in school instead of ditching? I would still like to know how the driver got the keys to the car. Was it a friend’s? Was it his family’s? Did he take it without permission or was he allowed to drive it? If one of these elements had been changed, I wonder if this crash would not have happened.

Parents, have you talked to your kids about seat belt use, passengers and the people they chose to ride with? If you haven’t you need to.

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2 Responses to “Update: teen driver of crash that killed four charged with nine criminal counts”

  1. Dawna Mitchell said

    I am from California and have been trying to follow this horrible story… Does anyone know how Rebecca or TJ is doing?

    • lapearce said

      Rebeca’s family told me after the crash that she was going to be okay, but that is the last I’ve heard from anyone– including the media– on the condition of the surviving teens. I hope everyone is recovering both physically and mentally from this very tragic crash.

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