Beware Of Unlicensed Drivers - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/15/05 - Lufkin

Beware Of Unlicensed Drivers

by Ramonica R. Jones

Classes in the Wells school district are called off Friday so students and staff can go to Jamye Crawford's funeral.

Crawford was a Wells freshman who died Tuesday after being involved in a car accident last weekend.  Crawford was a passenger in the car.  The driver was a 13-year-old.

Highway troopers believe the 13-year-old behind the wheel the night of the fatal crash may have taken the car from a relative without permission; a choice that turned deadly.

Authorities know kids that young usually have trouble learning a complicated skill like driving.

Licensed psychologist Sid Epperson said, "Things are happening so quickly; you're having to process so many different kinds of information that it's a hard process for a 13 or a 14-year-old to be able to do."

Just because you're on a road with little traffic that's not in the middle of a busy city doesn't mean it's not dangerous.  It takes skill and maturity to be safe behind the wheel.

Lt. Greg Denman said, "A car is like a gun.  You've got to know where they're off limits and what the safety of them is and so the child doesn't try to go off and do things like that."

Parents won't face criminal charges if their child takes their car without permission, but if someone gets hurt while their child is driving, they can face civil charges.

The 13-year-old driver in the car with Crawford was also hurt in Sunday's wreck.  Charges could be filed in about a week pending the investigation.

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