Commentary: Distractions and inexperienced driver lead to perfect storm for car crash

Adan Banks, Sports Editor

Many issues can lead to a car accident.  Distractions, including phone use and eating while driving, are leading causes for car accidents.  However, when an inexperienced driver, social media distractions and illegal substance use are all at play, they create a perfect storm that puts everyone at risk.

These were the factors that allegedly contributed to the car crash on Nov. 22, which resulted in the deaths of Richard Wilson, 14, and Sariah Sayasit, 12.  The driver was allegedly unlicensed.  According to CHP, some of the 12 passengers in the eight-seat vehicle were not wearing seatbelts.

Other problems that allegedly led to the crash were revealed in a private Instagram story by one of the passengers before the crash occurred.  The video allegedly shows the crowded conditions in the Toyota Siena van, with multiple spots seating two people.  The video also allegedly reveals drug use by the passengers, who were rolling and passing around marijuana blunts and posting on social media.

“The carelessness of the passengers is shown by the videos they posted,” senior Mason Price said.  “If they were acting more mature, the crash could’ve been avoided.”

With 12 people in a car, there is a lot of potential for distractions to the driver.  As the leading cause for car accidents, these distractions proved fatal. The driver could also face criminal charges if she is found at fault for the accident.

“The charges she could face include involuntary manslaughter and the worst charge she could face is probably vehicular manslaughter, and she could possibly be tried as an adult,” a former sheriff who asked to remain anonymous said.  “The conditions in the car could entail gross criminal negligence, which really elevates the charges.

“This case won’t be looked at the same way as if an adult who was under the influence crashed the car.  Because she was only 17, the charges will probably be less severe.  She isn’t looking at a long prison sentence.”

Because the driver and victims were all minors, the case records may be sealed.  The case is likely to focus on liability, and the parents or the owners of the vehicle could also possibly face charges.