Teen Killed in Crash
Troopers now say excessive speed and inexperience were both factors in a weekend crash that killed a 15 year-old girl in Rutherford County. The accident happened early Saturday afternoon on Big Island Road.
The teenage girl was a passenger in the vehicle. Investigators say she was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. The driver was a 16 year-old boy and he had only had his license for a few weeks.
This memorial off Big Island Road in Rutherford County is a grim reminder of a young life taken too soon. "Truck ran off the shoulder of the road, traveled down an embankment and struck several trees before coming to a rest," says Trooper Scott Morrow.
Troopers say the driver of the truck was traveling at least 55 miles per hour when he hit the curve. "Which is the going speed for Big Island Road. The only problem with that is we had a 16 year-old driver that only had his license approximately 5 to 6 weeks and he failed to negotiate the curve," adds Trooper Morrow.
Neighbors say the stretch of road is extremely dangerous. "It's bad down there. If they put some guardrails just up on that one side it would save a whole lot of lives," says resident Ervin Petty.
The Highway Patrol says this is the second teenage driving fatality in the county so far this year. They believe the new requirements recently approved by the general assembly are helping to reduce the overall number of teen deaths. "They are doing about everything they can do, but it's all left up to common sense and sound judgement by the individual themselves."
But when an accident such as the one on Big Island Road does happen, troopers say they try and use the tragedy to teach young drivers about of consequences of not driving responsibly. "When you get behind a 4,000 pound machine that's not the time to act up and be a kid because I've seen first hand as far as fatalities and serious p.i.'s," says Trooper Morrow.
The accident is still under investigation. Charges against the driver are pending.