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Police: Inattention a factor in wreck that killed Clayton teen

Posted December 14, 2011

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— Inattention was among the factors in a wreck that killed a 17-year-old Clayton High School senior Saturday morning, according to a preliminary police report.

Police said that Kristy Sharleen Tamayo, 19, of Clayton, over-corrected after her southbound Honda Civic went off the right side of the 800 block of Amelia Church Road. The Honda crossed the center line and struck an oncoming GMC SUV head-on.

Tania Ritacco, who was a passenger in the Honda, died of her injuries. Tamayo was in fair condition at WakeMed, with two broken legs and a broken arm.

Police said speeding was not a factor in the wreck, and everyone involved was wearing their seat belts.

Police stressed that the findings were preliminary and said charges might be filed later.

Relatives said Ritaccio and Tamayo were best friends and were on the way home from a Bible study class.

Ritacco was devoted to studying the Bible and was known at school for speaking out about her faith, her family said. She belonged to the Barber Mill Spanish Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Clayton.

A memorial service will be held at the church at 3 p.m. Saturday.

She is survived by her parents, a brother, four sisters and grandmothers in Italy and Honduras.

28 Comments

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  • kilnntime Dec 14, 2011

    No where in the story did it say she was talking on the phone, texting or doing anything , she ran off the road and over corrected, that is due to inexperience in driving . The roads here in NC do not have enough of a shoulder on them, often there is the white line and a drop off into dirt which catches experienced drivers off guard and inexperienced drivers panic. I don't understand why roads in NC do not have at least a foot of paved shoulder on the sides with ridges to catch the drivers attention back without causing the panic.

  • Six String Dec 14, 2011

    twc, unaware of that, thanks.

  • twc Dec 14, 2011

    Six String, the guard rails also have a tendency to redirect the vehicle back into traffic, whereas the cables are supposed to absorb the energy better.

  • twc Dec 14, 2011

    kikinc, actually running onto a shoulder in practice equates to experience, but under safer conditions. Until someone actually runs off onto a shoulder they aren't really prepared for the racket that happens. If you've never experienced it it makes you feel like you have to get back on the road fast. That's called panic. If you have experienced that racket under controlled conditions it makes it far less likely you'll panic.

    That is the training that is missing with most driver education.

    Driving in snow is another one but that's a different subject.

  • Six String Dec 14, 2011

    jd21, there was a time in this region when you saw nothing but guardrails or wooden posts (if anything). My understanding is that from studies done on the issue, many cars would leap the rails and continue either across the road or off to the side into a tree. I think it depended a lot on the angle of impact, both vertical and horzontal. The cables are designed to snag and hold the car to prevent this. Of course, I don't know who paid for the study on this -- might have been a cable manufacturer :)

  • spartacuscapua1 Dec 14, 2011

    everyone pretty much uses the cell phone while they drive... we need a new law that prohibits driving and texting/using a cell, in order to prevent accidents.

  • kikinc Dec 14, 2011

    uncw05-I was talking about actual driving experience. She could have done that maneuver a million times...in practice. Inattention + inexperience=panic. Panic doesn't exactly allow you to make split second decisions.

  • ncmedic201 Dec 14, 2011

    It is not the schools job to teach our children everything. Drivers ed only gives the basics. There is a reason that a child has a permit and must drive with an adult prior to receiving their license. My son's school did advise the parents that it is their job to teach these things, including how to ease back onto the road. After my son received his permit we practiced driving off the road and easing back on. Whether he remembers how to do it in an emergency remains to be seen (hopefully he will never have to do that). Teens are not the only ones who have this problem though. It is just the main cause of deaths involving collisions and teens. Many adults also panic in this situation and snatch the wheel. I think adding onto the shoulders and putting rumble strips would help alleviate this problem.

  • LambeauSouth Dec 14, 2011

    Wouldn't paved berms on the edges of the road hold water during rain, not allowing it to leave the roadway thereby increasing hydroplaning? I agree with parents teaching their children about easing back onto the road when the outside tires drop off.
    Glass Half Full
    it would, but not practical. as someone had already said, there are so many different situations that a driver can get into, and several options to saftly get out of them, it really comes down to when your in a car and your the driver, you must give your full attention to driving, start to finish, period

  • nativeofwake Dec 14, 2011

    dbop90 - those classes are great. My son did one, had a blast, and for only about $75 had a trained driver ride in his car for four hours. They teach kids how to handle the car they actually drive, the limits of that car, and what to do when things go wrong.

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