Raleigh Youth Council hopes to curb teen driving deaths
Posted January 23, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — A driving initiative in Raleigh is seeking to reduce the number of teen driving deaths and crashes.
Enloe High School student Alex Hatfield said two recent fatal wrecks, one including a fellow Enloe student, highlight the dangers teens can face behind the wheel.
"That definitely made it hit home, that this could happen to anybody," Hatfield said Monday.
Hatfield is part of the Raleigh Youth Council's Teen Safe Driving Initiative, which recently got a $17,000 grant from the Allstate Foundation to help educate teens.
"We felt there was a need and then with the unfortunate recent events of the two teenagers from this area that died in auto accidents, we've really wanted to step up our word," youth adviser Daniel Price said.
Price said the group is using some of the funds to host a series of informational sessions led by Raleigh police officers, focusing on distracted driving, driving while impaired and speeding. The idea is to get teens who attend the meetings to share the message with others. They will also ask peers to sign safe driving pledges and host other outreach events.
"We feel that's a powerful tool for teens to learn that information then pass it on," Price said.
Hatfield said he thinks the message will work if it comes from friends or classmates.
Enloe student Ashley Nicole Szymankiewicz, 17, of Raleigh, lost control of her SUV on Jan. 11 on U.S. 264, hit a guardrail, went airborne, overturned and hit a metal pole in the highway median. Her passenger, Enloe High sophomore Carol Anne Stamper, 15, of Raleigh, died in the wreck.
Millbrook High junior Elizabeth Molloy, 17, was killed in a wreck on Jan. 7. The driver, Garrett Prince, 16, of 11004 Coachmans Way, faces charges of felony death by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, provisional DWI, careless and reckless driving, having an open container of liquor, speeding and possession of marijuana. He was also injured in the wreck. Anthony Du Juan Geter, 21, of 6118 Shanda Dr., was charged with purchasing alcohol for Prince on the night of the wreck.