Driving instructor sends important message to teenage drivers

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, July 15, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- The four boys were all 18 and 19 years old. Three were just weeks from graduation, and one died this past Friday. All had their lives cut way too short.

Families and friends are grieving after car accidents took the lives of their loved ones. All four of these boys didn't make it past their teenage years, all taking their last breaths inside a car.

On May 5, Denzell Warthen, a Burke County High School senior, fell asleep at the wheel while driving late at night.

"You don't expect to wake up and find out that they're no longer with you," said his aunt, Joquinta Collins

Just days later, Jonny Hartman, a Harlem senior, lost control of his car over corrected and flipped into a tree.

Then just a week after, Ridge Spring-Monetta senior Travis Dunn lost his life after a head-on collision during heavy rain.

"Everybody kept on saying, I wish it was just a dream. I wish all this was not happening," said his classmate, Jordan Reeves.

And this Friday,Taylor Durrence, an Augusta Tech student and Harlem High School graduate was speeding when he lost control of his car.

"It's gonna be a big big void in our lives," said his grandmother, Betty Pearson.

Cecilia Orozco and her family own Northside Driving Academy in Aiken. She teaches teenage driving classes and says accidents like these are way too common -- especially for teenagers.

"It doesn't matter who you are, how old you are -- it will happen to you. Don't ever think that it's not going to," she said. "Over correcting can happen to anybody, speeding just regularly, not paying attention."

Reports say car accidents are the number one cause of teenage deaths in the country.

"They don't have enough experience in them to make that judgment of what do I do now," she said. "An adult can figure out the quickest way to get out of that situation of not colliding where teenager is going to panic."

She stresses three important things for every teenager to know when they get into a car.

"Pay close attention to what you're doing, sweep intersections and take precaution," she said.

Precautions that hopefully can help save the life of a teenager. Also, not using your cellphone while driving, wearing your seat belt and driving the speed limit can help save lives.

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