Auto accidents can happen in an instant; the consequences can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, for many victims, their suffering is the result of the negligence of someone else—a driver’s inattentiveness or any negligence.
Police are still investigating an accident earlier this month that claimed two lives and seriously injured two others. The two-vehicle accident occurred early evening on Route 251 and Big Mound Road in Ogle County, Illinois. According to witnesses, the driver of a pick-up truck was traveling southbound on the state road when a westbound car ran a stop sign. Upon impact, the truck burst into flames. The truck driver died at the scene from blunt force trauma. Three 17-year-old teens in the other vehicle were transported to an area hospital where one, a passenger, later died from her injuries. The teens were high school cheerleaders on their way to a game. Preliminary reports indicated that the two passengers were not wearing seat belts, but police are investigating further the accuracy of that report.
So far, there is no indication that the teen driver was distracted by a cell phone at the time of the accident. The Sheriff believes the teen driver may have been unfamiliar with the area and did not see the stop sign. The investigation is expected to conclude within a month; it is unclear at this time whether any charges will be filed against the teen driver.
The simple pressures of wanting to perform well behind the wheel can cause a teen driver to make a serious or fatal mistake. At the same time, teens will chat, joke, laugh, talk on the phone, text, eat, or any number of other distractions. The risk increase with the number of teen passengers. Crash data has long shown that driving with peers dramatically increases the odds of fatal crashes for teens. According to the Automobile Association of America’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, a 16- or 17-year-old driver’s risk of death per mile driven increases 44 percent when carrying one passenger younger than 21. The risk is double when carrying two passengers younger than 21, and quadruples when carrying three or more passengers that age.
No matter the reason behind the crash, the untimely death of anyone is always a tragedy. The staff at Lawsuit Financial extends their sympathy to all the families affected by this accident. We would also like to use this tragedy to urge parents to ensure that their teens are making safe choices behind the wheel especially as many high schoolers are approaching homecoming season, a time that often sees some of the year’s deadliest days for teen drivers.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.