AC5 tragedy reminds teen drivers to buckle up

AC5 tragedy reminds teen drivers to buckle up

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By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

CLINTON (WATE) - Some are saying the accident that sent five Anderson County High School students to the hospital was a wake-up call. Some of the students were not wearing seat belts in the March 19th crash.

Thursday night, Brenna Moore and Chad Bieckert were still in serious condition at UT Medical Center. The driver, Tyler Hicks, was also hurt in the accident.

Vance Barrier was released from the hospital 2 weeks ago. A fifth victim, Karla Carroll, was discharged from the hospital shortly after the crash.

Cayla Radder, 16, of Clinton, says the accident has made her pay more attention when she gets behind the wheel. "It makes me feel like . . . actually driving the speed limit and not going over it," said Radder. "I always wear a seat belt whenever I'm driving or riding in the front seat."

Cayla's mom, Cheryl Broome, says the accident affected her too. "It made me want to make sure she's wearing her seat belt, make sure where she's going and who's she's going with," said Broome. "It brought up a lot of concern."

Even though putting on your seat belt may seem simple, police say it is still a problem in the community. "It's something we definitely see daily and we use that opportunity to educate drivers about the benefits of wearing their seat belts," said Clinton Police Sgt. Douglas Black.

Sgt. Black says parents need to teach their children to wear seat belts. "Wearing the seat belt greatly reduces their risk for injury if they are involved in an accident." he said.

Amy Kelly-Graham, of Clinton, has two teenage daughters. Even though they are not driving yet, she is making sure to teach them to use their seat belts.

"I think it's the most important thing you can teach, or one of the most important things to teach them from a very young age," said Kelly-Graham.

Both parents say they are unsure if teens in the county have learned anything from last month's tragedy, but they hope they have paid attention.

"I would like to see them around longer," said Broome, "Wear your seat belts. . . it can save your life."
    
"You are the most precious things to your family," said Kelly-Graham. "Why would you not do the most simplest of acts and spare your family all of that heart ache and pain. It's just unbelievable to me a child wouldn't love their family enough, or wouldn't respect themselves enough, to buckle their seat belts."

There is a penalty for not wearing a seat belt in the city of Clinton. It is a $10 fine for the first time you are caught. Offenses after that jump up to $20. It is a Tennessee law for everyone riding in a vehicle to have a seat belt on.

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