Police: distracted driving a factor in crash that killed teen - FOX 13 News

Police: distracted driving a factor in crash that killed teen

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

A SUV teetered over a concrete barrier on a bridge in St. Petersburg, moments after a crash claimed the life of 16-year old Alexia Douglas. She was a passenger; her best friend was driving.

The two were traveling down 40th Avenue NE when the driver told police she took her eyes off the road for one moment Friday evening.

"A cell phone call did come in about the same time that the accident occurred. Her attention to the road was distracted momentarily. During that period of time, she lost control of the car and it did go up on the railing of the bridge, and at some point a piece of the guard rail pierced the window of the car," said Mike Puetz, spokesman for the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Alexia died instantly. Speed and alcohol were not factors in the accident. The driver, who is also 16, isn't facing charges at this point. Both girls went to Northeast High School and were close friends.

"This is obviously a very good friend of hers and she didn't want to see this take place. It's going to be one of those things she'll have to live with," Puetz said Monday.

In another tragic scene, 17-year old Omar Ontiveros was killed Friday in Lake Wales. He was a passenger in a car that crashed into a tree. His 17-year old friend was driving. Police are also investigating whether distracted driving was a factor.

AAA says it's a tragedy that's all too common for teens.

"On average, individuals take their eyes off the road 1.6 seconds. Novice drivers, to be honest, I don't think they can afford that because the skill level just isn't there, and it's just so important to stay focused," said AAA's John Pecchio.

AAA has a website dedicated to educating parents and teens about the dangers of distracted driving. For more information, visit www.TeenDriving.aaa.com

 

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