Lessons from Valley tragedies

Many in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys spent last week mourning the deaths of two Sharon High School football players and a proud Brookfield stepfather and husband in an auto accident Nov. 8.

Many also spent time scratching their heads wondering why and how the lives of these three respected and upstanding individuals — Corey Swartz, 17; Evan Gill, 17; and John Zdelar, 50 — were so quickly snuffed out.

Speed apparently played a major role. The Sharon Police Department on Friday concluded that the SUV driven by Swartz was traveling 15 to 20 mph above the posted speed limit of 40 mph on the winding highway.

As such, the Sharon crash brings back painful memories of one of the worst auto accidents caused by speed in Ohio history. Last March, six teens were killed in a crash after speeding along a stretch of Pine Avenue in Warren. It also reminds us that inexperienced teen drivers cause a disproportionately large share of fatal accidents, that traffic accidents remain the leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year-olds and that speed is a leading cause of fatal crashes for all drivers.

As holiday shopping begins in earnest this month, teen drivers and operators of motor vehicles of all ages should keep those facts in mind.

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