January 22, 2012 was a sad day in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. A horrible car accident claimed the life of 19-year-old Travis Michael Perez.
Just after midnight, Perez was driving on Kenosha Street at a high rate of speed. He lost control of the car and ended up hitting a utility pole on the driver’s side. The accident pinned Perez in the car, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, Darren Wilton, also 19, was transported to St. Francis Hospital and was reported to be in stable condition.
Two factors seem to have contributed not just to the accident, but to Perez’s death. Police say alcohol was apparently a factor in the car crash. This is especially disturbing because of Perez being underage. The question remains where he was able to acquire or drink alcohol prior to getting into his car.
Secondly, Perez was not wearing a seat belt. It may never be known whether that would have saved his life, but the possibility does exist. Perhaps Perez simply neglected to put his seat belt on, or the alcohol may have affected that decision as well.
In any case, it’s a shame that such a young person was a drunk driving fatality. Our condolences go out to Perez’s family, and we hope for Wilton’s speedy recovery. But more than that, we hope this serves as a caveat to young drivers. Car accidents are tragic enough. The ones that could have been avoided are particularly difficult to accept.