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Ocala school remembers teen car accident victims

Florida residents' late teens and early twenties are generally a time of excitement and promise. Finishing high school and moving on, either to college or work, should be a process or realizing potential and learning how to live on one's own. Unfortunately, for too many young people, it can mean life-altering consequences when they, or close friends or family are involved in a car accident.

An Ocala-area high school held its 8th annual "Drive for Life" event recently. The event is meant to bring awareness to drunk and distracted driving and to road safety in general. It began after the school population suffered a rash of traffic-related deaths of students and recent almost a decade ago. It is a time for remembrance of lives permanently altered or cut short far too soon, as well as a plea for students and the community to keep in mind the potential consequences of negligent and reckless behavior behind the wheel.

The program had even more meaning this year, as a 19-year-old former attendee of the school was in surgery after suffering injuries in a crash. The teenager was reportedly a passenger in a truck that crashed into a tree, and the teen suffered burns over 90 percent of his body. The teens' brother is a junior at the high school. Fifteen students from the school have been killed in auto accidents since 2008.

It is important for Ocala residents to remember that cars are dangerous objects full of flammable material traveling at high speeds. Drinking and driving, or doing other activities such as texting that distracts from the road can change lives in seconds. Whether a driver injured by another's negligence or a passenger hurt in a car accident due to the reckless actions of the vehicles' driver, a victim and his or her family may be entitled to monetary compensation to cover expenses and other damage wrought by such an event.

Source:, "At North Marion, road safety is never forgotten," Joe Callahan, March 8, 2017

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