Our Riviera Beach car accident lawyers were disheartened to learn of a fatal crash at an intersection of Interstate 95 that claimed the lives of five young people, ages 14 to 22.
The next two months, including prom and graduation, are among the deadliest times of the year for our teenagers.
The driver of the alleged at-fault vehicle was just 21 himself, and police say was speeding and driving recklessly as he barreled off the highway toward the traffic light. It was shortly after midnight, and the driver of a 2008 Mercedes flew through the red light at the off ramp. In doing so, authorities say he violently collided with a 1994 Lexus carrying five people.
The impact sent both vehicles over the median and into the oncoming, westbound lanes of traffic. Four of those in the Lexus were thrown from the vehicle as it rolled over.
Only one person in that vehicle was wearing a seat belt, according to authorities. In the end, even that didn’t matter, as all five were killed. Four were pronounced dead at the scene, while the fifth died after being emergency transported to a nearby hospital.
Those killed include: one 14-year-old girl, two 17-year-old girls, one 21-year-old male and one 22-year-old male. All were residents of Riviera Beach. The 21-year-old male had been the driver.
The at-fault driver was the sole survivor of the crash. He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was listed soon afterward as being in serious condition, though he was expected to survive and make a full recovery.
The debris from the crash struck a third vehicle, driven by a 24-year-old, also of Riviera Beach, however he was thankfully not injured.
While investigators know speed and reckless driving were factors, it’s not yet clear whether alcohol or drugs may have been involved. Traffic homicide detectives are awaiting blood test results to determine whether DUI manslaughter charges will be filed.
The Palm Beach Post reported it’s been a very long time since a motor vehicle accident claimed the lives of so many youth in the county at once. Perhaps the most noteworthy of those was a crash in February of 1996. A 19-year-old driver had eight teen passengers in his Honda, which he wrecked just minutes later. Five of the passengers were killed, one was paralyzed and three others, who were in another car, were permanently injured.
One of those who passed was the daughter of State Rep. Irv. Slosberg, D-Boca Raton. He later ran for state office, campaigning for safer roads in Florida. He was successful in passing the Dori Slosberg Driver Education Safety Act, in her name.
While this incident is unquestionably tragic, the fact is that motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of deaths among U.S. teenagers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2010, at least seven teens died each day in this country.
Even though many teens know the dangers of drinking and driving, they may have the tendency to underestimate the potential carnage that can be caused by speeding. The National Safety Council reports that speed is a factor in some 13,000 traffic fatalities in the U.S. each year. This costs society more than $40 billion annually. Consider that every minute that is “gained” by speeding to a certain destination ends up costing society as a whole $76,000.
It’s too great a price to pay.
This lesson is especially important as we enter prom and graduation season, where our kids will be excitedly rushing off from one celebration to the next. Please, use this opportunity to talk to your teens and young adults not only about the dangers of drinking and driving, but the risks associated with speeding as well.
Call Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
5 young adults killed in two-car crash in Florida, April 13, 2013, Staff Report, Associated Press
More Blog Entries:
South Florida Traffic Safety – Seat Belts Save Lives Close to Home, April 7, 2013, Riviera Beach Car Accident Lawyer Blog