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Continued: A farewell to friends gone too soon

  • Article by: HOWIE PADILLA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 4, 2007 - 9:56 PM

Dr. Andrea Barthwell, co-founder and co-chairwoman of the Coalition to End Needless Deaths on Our Roadways, said that her group and the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma rank Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota among the nation's top 10 states for fatalities involving 16- to 20-year-old drivers.

Based on 2005 statistics, the percentage of traffic fatalities involving at least one young driver hovers around 19 percent in each of those Upper Midwest states, the groups' study shows. The national average is 16.5 percent.

Barthwell could give no concrete reasons for the higher fatality rate in the Upper Midwest states.

Other recent fatal accidents include the crash Sunday night in which James Castillon, 17, of Stillwater, died when the car he was driving went off the road into a patch of woods. Three passengers in the car were injured.

On June 23, Samantha Kelly, 15, of St. Paul, was killed when the sport-utility vehicle in which she was riding rolled over on Interstate Hwy. 35E near Hwy. 96 in White Bear Lake early that morning. The driver lost control when another motorist sped ahead of the SUV and then slammed on the brakes.

At the site of Tuesday's crash, bright paint marked evidence of the ongoing accident reconstruction and investigation.

As Harp left, he carried a few memories from the scene: A scuffed and dirtied CD from the Used, a band that he said Jordain liked; a black-and-white bandana and a small piece of metal and plastic that once was part of a car.

He said that, hours after the accident, he and his mother were talking about teens believing that they are invincible.

"But we're not," he said. "No one lives forever."

Howie Padilla • 651-298-1551 • hpadilla@startribune.com

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