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Car accidents like this are heart breaking dramas of human loss

It's not easy to describe the tragic reality that surrounds an accident involving dead teens. As in the case reported below, the teen victims of car accidents are often the most active, vibrant lights in their high schools and social groups. They may also be the scholars with worlds of practical contributions yet to make. In Missouri, one of those painful stories of lost youth, broken dreams and stricken parents must again be told.

An 18-year-old male was driving his mother's 2013 Infiniti G37S convertible on Homestead Manor Drive in Wildwood with the top down about 9:45 p.m. when the car ran off the road, hit the back deck of a home, then went into the woods and struck a tree. Two sisters, 18 and 17, were passengers who died in the crash. One 18-year-old female survived.

The sisters were dead when authorities arrived, and the young man died before a medical helicopter could get him to a hospital. The cause of the accident and the speed of the vehicle were not known. Routine toxicology tests for such motor vehicle accidents are pending.

The story of this tragedy is really expressed in the reactions of their classmates and the honor that they showed for them. By all accounts the sisters were both leaders and scholars at Eureka High School. The principal called them ideal model students. The boy's father said with tears that his son was leaving the next day for the University of Missouri at Columbia, where he was going to be a freshman and study business. The assistant principal at Marquette High described him as a 'gifted young man'.

Despite the paucity of facts at this time it's clear that the driver was at least negligent in losing control of the vehicle, leaving the road and crashing. In Missouri and elsewhere, single car accidents with these general facts are virtually always deemed to be the driver's responsibility. The estates of the two sisters can assert wrongful death actions against the young man's estate. The damages will possibly include pain and suffering, loss of life's pleasures, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and loss of earning capacity for the average life expectancy that each would have had.

Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch, "Two teen sisters, friend killed in Wildwood car crash," Kim Bell, Aug. 16, 2013

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