Fourth Student from Ed White Dies Following Explorer Rollover

Last week, we remembered nine teenagers who decided to cut the last day of school, pile into a 1997 Ford Explorer and go to the beach. On the way there, the 15-year-old driver lost control of the vehicle, which rolled, tossing everyone out, except the driver who was the only one wearing a seat belt. Three teens died that day; now a recent report states that a fourth, a teenage girl, has died as a result of the Florida rollover accident.

The 15 year old girl died Monday morning, June 15, at Shands Hospital. All but one of the teens attended Ed White High School in Jacksonville. Other students are still listed in critical condition.

Our condolences go out to the parents, friends, and teachers of these young people.

The Florida Highway Patrol reports that the tire in the overloaded vehicle either lost its tread or blew out. Someone reconstructing the accident would want to know what type of tire this was.

Tires on the vehicle could have been recalled, had no tread, or been improperly inflated. More than 200 deaths and 700 injuries have been blamed on the Explorer rolling after the tread separated from Firestone tires, which were standard equipment on the Explorer.

The Explorer is notorious for rollovers, especially the older models. A 1997 model did not have the stability control that is added today after thousands of passengers lost their lives in the unstable vehicles. An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report in 2005 found that Explorers made between 1999 and 2002 had the fourth highest rate of driver wrongful death of all of the 47 SUVs in the study.

Let’s hope teenagers understand the perils of not wearing your seat belt. Out of the 4,540 teenagers killed in a vehicle accident in 2007, 2,502 were unbelted at the time of the crash, according to federal statistics. Only the driver here was belted and he was the least injured.

Speaking of the 15-year-old driver, if he had his permit, he was supposed to have someone over the age of 21 next to him in the vehicle. No one in the car was over the age of 17.

If kids could only hear the story from the survivors, I predict they might appreciate what Florida car accident attorneys face every day of their professional lives. Lives can be saved by following the rules, bucking up, making sure your tires are in good shape with tread and properly inflated, and not overloading a vehicle. An experienced driver behind the wheel helps too.

Flowers mark the place on I -295 where the teenagers died and at Ed White High School the sign outside did say, “Have A Safe Summer.” Counselors there are talking to kids during this emotional time.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in Florida, the Jacksonville experienced auto accident lawyers at Farah and Farah have the skills and resources to help you receive compensation from negligent parties. To find out more about how we can protect your rights, call us today at 1-800-533-3555.

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