It was Friday evening and Mr. Harris was heading home from work trying to beat the madness of rush hour. He was whizzing down the highway pushing 75 mph, when he stopped short before an unmoving sea of glowing break lights. He looked around, saying, “Ugh, what’s going on? Hurry up slow pokes. I’m trying to get home” and then aggressively honks his horn.
He turns the radio on, flips through the stations, and stops at the news. He hears “Good evening, this is Kate Kross with Sactown Public Radio reporting a multi-car crash on Highway 99. The sheer number of first responders indicates a horrific scene. Traffic is backed up to about a mile and it will be that way for hours. We will continue live updates from the scene.”
“Well, that’s just great.” Mr. Harris yelled as he slammed his hands on the dashboard. “I wonder who the numskull is that caused this mess.”
30 Minutes Earlier
Reece walks into the kitchen and asks, “Mom, can I go with my friends to the movies tonight?”
“Yes, you may go but you’re going to have to take the bus or catch a ride with one of your friends because I’m going to game night.”
Reece responded with, “Why can’t I just take dad’s second car? I have my permit.”
“You are 15 and only have a permit. Take the bus or stay home.”
Reece watched as him mom got in her car and drove down the street out of sight. Once the coast was clear, Reece grabbed the car keys for his dad’s second car. Once inside, he turned on the ignition, hit the gas, and peeled out of the driveway leaving tire tracks down the street. He entered onto the highway. “She is always doubting me,” said Reece to himself.
Reece began yelling at the cars in front of him, saying “Hurry up slow pokes. I’ve got places to be and people to see.” His temper began to rise and so did his speed. He pressed the gas pedal and the numbers on the speedometer rapidly increased: 50…60…70…80…90…100, and he began to weave in between the cars without signaling.
A sports car came speeding up next to Reece’s and the two drivers looked at each other, and without words, agreed to race. When Reece turned back to the road, an eighteen-wheeler was entering his lane. When he turned his head, trying to act fast, he slammed on the breaks but it was too late – he hit the truck head on and flew through the windshield. Reece lay dead on the concrete.
Back with Mr. Harris on Highway 99
Mr. Harris, who was still at a standstill on the highway, turned the radio back on and caught Kat Kross say the words “We’re able to see that the car that that started this horrible chain of events is mangled beyond recognition except for the license plate “LV2SPEED.” At that moment, his wife called and confirmed his worst fear. He sank into his seat and sobbed with his head resting on the steering wheel. He saw a montage of Reece’s life in his mind’s eye: birth, first steps, birthdays, sports games. Those sweet memories were abruptly replaced with the ones of when Mr. Harris would take Reece on rides in his sports car, where he tail-gated other cars, went way over the speed limit, swerved and weaved, and was cheered on by Reece saying, “Pass him. Pass him”, and “Faster!!!” Parents are the leading influencer of the attitudes of teen drivers. Set good examples for your children.