Vehicle from last year’s teen fatality crash put on display

La Paz Sheriff’s Department Press Release

On October 11th 2011, at approximately midnight, a male subject picked up three of his friends and took them for a ride in his car. The driver did not tell the three occupants that he had been drinking alcohol prior to picking them up. Initially, one of the passengers had asked the driver to take them to pick up her young child from the babysitter’s house, however; prior to doing that, he decided to take them out to Shea Road.

While driving down Shea Road, the driver reached speeds up to (approximately) 100 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. He then lost control on a corner and launched the vehicle into the air, landing nose down into the ground. At the time of impact, nobody in the vehicle was wearing seatbelts. When the vehicle did a “nose dive” into the ground, all of the passengers came out of their seats striking the dashboards with their heads. This caused all three passengers to suffer spinal chord injuries to their necks. Two of the passengers died as a result, the third is now a quadriplegic.

The driver of the vehicle was saved by the fact that his airbag pinned him in place and he only suffered fractures to his wrists and ankles.

We have placed this vehicle on display in front of the Parker High School (16th Street and Laguna). There are two points I would like the teachers to make to their students.

First; please notice that the passenger compartment is in good condition and if everyone had been wearing seatbelts, they would have most likely walked away from the scene.

Second; if the driver had not been under the influence of alcohol, he may not have made the bad decision to go drive out on Shea Road at unreasonable speeds. Remember, alcohol not only affects your ability to react quickly but it also affects judgment.

Please keep this incident in mind the next time you or someone you know is considering drinking and driving and please always wear your seatbelt. There are three things I would like the reader to take away from this incident. 1st: Do not drink and drive 2nd: Do not get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking 3rd: Always wear your seatbelt.

Curt Bagby
La Paz County Sheriff’s Office

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