The Crash That Killed Me: Dangers Of Teen Driving

My name is Phillip Ly. I am fourteen years old and I am the second oldest son in my family. I have an older brother named Doi, older sister named Hong, and a younger brother named Parker. I am a freshman at Hoover High School. I am energetic and very funny. I love playing video games and relaxing but I will always lend a helping hand to anyone in need. I am also Vietnamese. My life has just begun. But on March 7th 2006, it all ended. I died.

My friend and I were coming home from Lost Lake. We had gone fishing. It was a nice spring day, not too hot or too cold. The car accident happened around seven or eight in the evening. My friend was driving and I was in the passenger seat.  As we were coming home, a drunk driver hit us.  I died instantly.

I regret going out that day. Now that I am no longer with my family, I missed out on so much. I have a new little brother named Kevin who is now three years old. I missed out on the birth of my nephew Aidan who is now four and I also missed out on my brother Doi’s wedding.

My name is Mike Xiong. I have five brothers and one sister. I am the third oldest son in my Hmong family of nine. My favorite hobby is playing the piano. Every morning, I used to play my keyboard while my mom made breakfast. I graduated in 2009 from Roosevelt High School.  Four weeks after my graduation, I died.

I went with many of my friends to Avocado Lake for a graduation party. We had a fun time. It was great to know that we were finally done with high school and I had my whole life ahead of me.

We were coming back home in the evening and there were four of us in the car. I was in the backseat. My friends in the other car wanted to race, so we did. We were going about seventy miles per hour. The other car stopped, but we didn’t. We turned at a curve and lost control. We hit a tree. The car wrapped around the tree like a child holding a teddy bear for comfort. But it wasn’t a comforting sight at all.  Everyone died except for my friend who was sitting next to me.

[pullquote_right] The other car stopped, but we didn’t. We turned at a curve and lost control.”[/pullquote_right]

There were a lot of family and friends at my funeral. At one point, there were no more seats so many people had to sit on the ground. My friend who survived the crash was still in the hospital in serious condition. Who would have thought that my graduation picture would be the best picture to sit alongside my casket? A year later, my dad passed away.  Many people believe that it was partly due to the sadness of losing me. I feel as though my death could have been prevented.

My name is Yee Leng Vang. I am seventeen years old and I attend Edison High School.  Phillip was my brother-in-law. It was tragic to hear that he passed away. We were close and I had known him for years. We used to always play video games together and he would always make fun of me.

Mike is my girlfriend’s nephew. I did not know him personally, but his death impacted me. I learned that I should not disturb or encourage my friends or the driver to drive recklessly. It can endanger my life as well as the lives of others.

I attended Mike’s funeral. I saw his picture. I cried even though I did not know him.  Everyone cried. When his parents spoke about his life, I felt as though something had been taken away from me. It was the opportunity to befriend and build a relationship with him. I sat with my girlfriend. We cried. I paid my respects and I went home. I could do nothing more.

It is heartbreaking to lose someone in a death that could have been prevented. It is also hard to let them go if they were important people in your life.

Driving is a hard task. I do not yet have my driver’s license, but when I practice, I feel uneasy behind the wheel. Unlike many other teenagers, I dislike driving, but I know it would make my life easier if I learned. That’s what everyone tells me but I fear the idea of crashing or getting crashed into. It scares me to know my life can end at the blink of an eye. Maybe if I practice more, I will triumph over my fears and become a better driver.

I know many teenagers at this stage in their life can be oblivious to safety precautions and do not yet have enough experience driving. They take their eyes off the road, sometimes text or talk on the phone while they drive, search for music to play, or get distracted by other friends in the car. Other teens simply make bad decisions such as speeding or driving drunk.

The cause of so many teen car accidents is the lack of focus on the road. It’s important to focus while driving in order to be safe and not endanger your life or others. It’s as simple as that. But because of bad decisions and poor driving habits, many teenagers die each year from car accidents, most of whom are between the ages of sixteen to nineteen. In this country, about five thousand teenagers die per year, and four hundred thousand teens are seriously injured. Within these deaths, more than half are male drivers and passengers just like Phillip and Mike.

I am over the death of Phillip. I have let him go but he will linger in my memories. Mike will too. They were so young and their deaths were preventable. If only the other driver was sober that night. If only Mike had encouraged his friend not to race. If only they could have heard other stories like this before they got into the car, they might still be alive.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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