Understanding as we do the devastating effects of a prolonged hospital stay brought on by serious medical complications problems, it’s wise to never underestimate the injury potential of any automobile or commercial trucking collision. Here in Maryland, where we average close to 500 fatal traffic-related accidents every year, the odds of anyone reading this sentence being involved in any kind of roadway accident during his or her lifetime is fairly high.
Hundreds of thousands of innocent people across this nation are sent to the emergency room each year thanks to car, truck and motorcycle crashes. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us if someone you know has previously been involved in any type of car collision — from a minor fender-bender to an all-out, multi-car pileup — for the simple reason that the annual number of road accidents is somewhere north of five million for the entire country.
If one does the basic math, it’s amazing to see that, on average, there are more than 14,000 auto accidents every single day in the U.S. And while Maryland is by no means the largest state, we are in the top half by population. But even the knowledge that our state ranks 19th in population (and 5th in population density), it’s still hard to believe that Maryland motorists get into traffic accidents about once every five minutes; every single day, all through the year.
One of the largest groups of drivers who seem to grab the lion’s share of the traffic accident statistics is that of teenagers. All across the U.S., auto crashes account for the largest percentage of teen deaths of any other kind of accident, physical condition or medical problem — fully a third of all teenage fatalities are the result of traffic collisions. In fact, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that every year car accidents cause the death of about eight young people between the ages of 16 and 19 each day.
This statistic came to mind the other day when we read of a 15-year-old who died in the hospital apparently from injuries sustained when the vehicle he was driving stuck a power pole. The victim reportedly did not have a driving permit, but the most unusual aspect of this particular fatal car crash was that the boy was leading local police on a car chase just before the fatal wreck.
According to news reports, the accident took place on a Thursday evening in Wicomico County when the young man, a student at James M. Bennett High School in Salisbury, MD, was spotted by police officers committing a variety of moving violations in a ’98 Ford sedan. When patrolmen attempted to pull the teen over he reportedly drove away, leading them on a chase that ended a little after 10pm when the teenager apparently lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a nearby utility pole.
By the time emergency personnel were able to get the boy to Peninsula Regional Medical Center for treatment, he could not be saved and was pronounced dead. Based on information provided by the Salisbury Police Department at the time of the news article, it would likely take a few weeks to get a complete report from the Chief Medical Examiner’s office in Baltimore in order to determine the exact cause of death and whether there was any alcohol or drugs in the victim’s bloodstream at the time of his death.
Still, there are many questions surrounding this incident, according to news reports, such as what part the police chase may have played in the young man’s death, how long it took to get the victim to the hospital, and how he got access to a vehicle as an unlicensed/unpermitted driver, among others.
15-year-old Md. boy killed in crash after chase identified, DelawareOnline.com, March 11, 2013