A group of three Spokane-area teenagers apparently could not wait to get home from a late-night trip to Taco Bell on Friday night, resulting in all three teens suffering serious injuries after the 15-year-old driver crashed into a telephone pole.
According to a report from The Seattle Times, an unidentified 15-year-old boy had texted two of his friends on November 15 saying that he wanted to get some fast food. The two friends, who have only been identified as 14- and 17-year-old boys, admitted to smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol before they walked over to the 15-year-old’s house.
An Unlicensed Motorist is a Dangerous Motorist
Despite the fact that the 15-year-old was underage and therefore is an unlicensed driver, all three teens got into the vehicle and made the trip to a nearby Taco Bell. They made it to the restaurant just fine, but it was during the return trip that the underage driver began driving recklessly.
According to police, the 14-year-old passenger told them that he saw the speedometer inside the car exceed 120 mph at one point during their return trip. The 14- and 17-year-olds reportedly also became uncomfortable with the high speeds and asked the driver to slow down as they approached a railroad crossing.
Shortly after this, however, the driver lost control of the 1998 Toyota Camry that he was driving and proceeded to crash into a power pole. The crash caused all three passengers to suffer varying injuries, ranging from serious to life-threatening.
The 14-year-old passenger suffered a broken foot in the crash, while the 15-year-old driver suffered an undisclosed head injury that required him to be sent to the hospital. The 17-year-old passenger – who was riding in the front seat at the time of the collision – was also hospitalized as a result of his injuries, and hospital officials say he remains in critical condition.
Police Investigate Contributing Factors to Car Crash
The fact that both passengers admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana obviously threw up some red flags for investigators, and news reports show that police were waiting to be able to collect a blood sample from the driver in order to determine whether or not he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.
Regardless of whether or not he was impaired, the 15-year-old driver is too young to legally possess a valid Washington State driver’s license and therefore is unlikely to have his own auto insurance policy. There is a chance that the parents of the teenagers involved would have an auto insurance policy that provides coverage in this type of accident, but that would depend upon the specific terms and exclusions of the individual policy.
These types of scenarios are a reminder of why it’s important to purchase an adequate level of auto insurance coverage and how beneficial uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage can be. UM/UIM coverage can help cover damages in the event that a person is injured in an auto accident with a driver who either has very little insurance coverage or no coverage at all.