LaGRANGE — Three teenagers and a toddler were “lucky to be alive” Wednesday, said a state trooper, after a car they were traveling in crashed mid-afternoon on Hogansville Road.
A 17-year-old girl was driving a Ford Taurus southbound in the 3400 block of Hogansville Road when she ran off the road, struck a driveway and flipped the vehicle.
“If that car had flipped one more time, somebody would have been killed,” said a Georgia State Patrol trooper at the scene.
The girl claimed another car turned in front of her and she swerved to avoid it, the trooper said before adding there were no driveways in the stretch of road to support the girl’s statement.
An 18-year-old male, the 17-year-old driver, a 14-year-old male and a 3-year-old male toddler were in the Ford when it ran off the road. The driver and passengers claimed they were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, but the GSP investigator thought differently. He said when he inspected the crashed car, the seat belts were still locked, indicating they were not being worn at the time of the crash.
The trooper said the driver was likely unbelted, and when she ran off the road, was bumped out of her seat and became unable to regain control of the car.
The driver and toddler were taken to Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center with minor injuries.
The trooper said the driver will be cited for failing to use a seat belt.
Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In 2013, there were 3,154 people killed and an estimated additional 424,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the NHTSA.
Tyler H. Jones is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2153.