A varsity basketball player for Kempsville High School was tragically killed in a car accident on Avalon Avenue in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA). The teenager was a passenger in a 1999 Oldsmobile that was driven by another teen, according to the Daily Press. Police have charged the driver with a DUI and involuntary manslaughter.
As the father of two young daughters and a son, I want to send my deepest sympathies to the parents who lost their son, who was just 16 years old, in this horrible accident. That’s a loss I wish no parent had to endure.
It’s so frustrating to hear about these kinds of fatal car crashes where the driver was potentially intoxicated. This accident may have been prevented if the at-fault driver had exercised some responsibility and not driven under the influence. Police also need to look into who supplied the alcohol to the at-fault driver, who was also only 16 years old.
In Virginia, selling alcohol to a minor is a class 1 misdemeanor (Virginia Code 4.1-304 ) which is an offense with possible jail sentence of one year, and possible fine of $2500. If it turns out someone at a grocery store or some other business sold alcohol to the driver, police should definitely consider pressing charges.
Sadly, the loss of life from alcohol-related car accidents is becoming increasingly common in the Commonwealth. In fact, alcohol-related wrecks have increased 3 percent from 2003 to 2008, according to the Virginia DMV. In Virginia Beach, there were 612 car crashes where alcohol played a role in 2008.
The Commonwealth can do better than this. We need to stress to our teen drivers that drinking while under the influence of alcohol, or another substance which impairs reaction time and the ability to properly handle a vehicle, is completely unacceptable.