Teen dies in rural car wreck

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CASHION, Okla. - A 15-year-old boy is dead after a two-car accident on a rural road between Cashion and Kingfisher.

The teen was ejected from the vehicle after the Jeep Liberty he was riding in was T-boned by a pickup truck Tuesday evening.

He was not wearing a seat belt.

"It doesn't matter if it's in a rural area, a metro area, whatever it is, seat belts are designed to help save lives and reduce injuries," said Capt. Paul Timmons of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. "Whether you're a front seat passenger, backseat passenger, whatever, if the vehicle is equipped with seat belts, they should be worn by everyone in the vehicle, because you never know what's going to happen."

Two other teenage girls were airlifted to OU Medical Center.  They are expected to survive.

The three were traveling north on N. 2960 Rd., likely to one of their homes, a victim's sister said. It was a trip they made routinely.

A 2006 Chevy pickup failed to yield at E. 850 Rd. and collided with the Jeep, which was sent rolling before settling in a field. The truck ended up in a ditch.

"Basically, the car, from what I'm told, flipped six times," said Kasey Best, whose sister had to have surgery Friday. "She was pinned down for about 35 minutes. Everything else in the car was thrown around and scattered, and somehow her cell phone stayed put, so we're very lucky that happened."

The girl was able to use the cell phone to call 911. The driver and the passenger of the pickup were not seriously injured. They have not been charged with a crime.

There are no stop signs or yield signs at the intersection where the accident occurred but, according to Oklahoma law, the teenagers had the right of way, because they were to the right of the pickup truck when the two arrived at roughly the same time.

Oklahoma law does not require backseat passengers to wear seat belts, so the teen that died was not technically doing anything wrong.  But, OHP said wearing a seat belt can cut the risk of death or injury in a car accident by 50 percent.

"I think, a lot of times, people take that for granted. They don't take the necessary precautions that they would if they were going on a long trip," Timmons said. "It's always a good idea, if you're getting in the car, front seat, back seat, whatever, put a seat belt on, and make sure everyone else puts a seat belt on, too."

Relatives of the two teens who survived want to make sure other teenagers are as safe as possible behind the wheel.

"Don't speed, wear your seat belt at all times, make sure you're safe," Best said. "You have no reason to risk your life for those things, so that's definitely important to teach your kids."

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