Carteret County Under-Age Driver Crashes Killing Child Passenger | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Sumter, South Carolina police say a 14-year-old girl was driving a car packed with children when it crashed, killing one child. Authorities report that the girl’s mother was in the passenger seat of the 1989 Buick when it hit a tree in this North Carolina border town.

The negligent mother, Nicole Ford (32) was in jail Friday ahead of a bond hearing on multiple charges of unlawful conduct toward a child for allowing her daughter to drive. The Sumter police report indicated that six other children were in the car Tuesday night. On top of this egregious conduct, apparently no one in the car was wearing a seat belt.

Tragically, a one-year-old girl died later from critical injuries sustained in the underage driving car crash.  Drivers in South Carolina must be at least 15 to get a beginner’s permit. Sumter County jail officials did not know if Ford had an attorney.

The facts about underage driving:

  • Teen drivers aged 16-19 years are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.
  • Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed, run red lights, make illegal turns, ride with an intoxicated driver, and drive after using alcohol or drugs.
  • Inexperience is the reason why these drivers are more likely to underestimate hazardous situations.
  • The presence of teen passengers increases the risk of accidents by underage drivers – and the more passengers – the higher the risk.
  • Accidents by underage drivers occur mostly on Friday and Saturday nights between the hours 9pm and 6am.