On March 1st a fatal car accident shocked the county, taking the lives of four young people in Aptos. Of the six people piled into a black four-seat Mercedes, three were pronounced dead on the scene when the mercedes collided head-on with a Ford F-150 truck. A night of partying for these young adults ended in tragedy as a fourth victim was declared dead in the hospital the night of the 8:00 pm crash.
The driver of the black Mercedes, Arturo Avalos, 22, of Watsonville was among the three declared dead at the scene of the accident. The others who lost their lives included Watsonville’s Osbaldo Melgoza-Ortiz, 18, and Teresita Brady, 19, from Soquel. The fourth victim was a 16 year-old girl whose name has not been released.
The two other passengers from the Mercedes were hospitalized, along with the driver of the Ford F-150. The 56-year old man driving the truck was held in the hospital for two days before being released.
Sadek, the officer who investigated the crime, believes that alcohol and/or drugs may have been the cause. “Evidence of drinking was found at the crash site,” Sadek said, “and witnesses reported seeing the Mercedes swerving, crossing the double-yellow line and traveling at high speeds before the crash.”
Officials are sure that the Mercedes’ seatbelts were not being used properly, which could have worsened the chances of death in the event of just such an accident. This should be a somber reminder to us that laws are set for a reason, to keep us safe, not to stop us from having “fun.” These young people ignored safety laws, and it may have cost them their lives.
“Click it or ticket,” is very common phrase seen on billboards all throughout the country. This means to remind people that a seat belt should be worn at all times in a car or moving vehicle. Even a short drive can turn deadly, and it is important to remember to use your seatbelt.Alcohol consumption in illegal for those under the age of 21, and it is illegal to consume alcohol before operating heavy machinery or driving a motorized vehicle. The fact that six people were driving in a car made to seat four increased the chances of injury or death in an accident. This should also never be done, even if nobody is watching, as some safety features in cars can be dangerous to those not buckled in seats.
Because of a lack of concern for safety, our community is mourning the loss of four of its young members. “It sounded a bit like there was a party going on in the car,” Sadek told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The more people you pile into a car, it greatly increases your chances of being in a collision. This is an unfortunate situation of no seat belts and alcohol.” The observance of general safety laws can save others from the horrible fate of these four, or the fate of the survivors haunted by the memory of the accident.
By Andy Wise, News writer