Life on Florida’s West Coast

Get control of your teens

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Parents who have no control over their teens should be fined, in the very least. I have some understanding about parents of teens older than 16. Once they can drive and have regular access to a car, it is hit or miss as to whether or not they are going to cooperate in letting you know where they are at any given moment.

I’m reading the local news on a Tampa Bay TV station’s website this morning and I see not one, but TWO incidents today involving 15-year-old boys who were driving without a license (obviously, since they are both 15).

One boy, Devan J. Larue, was driving erratically in Dunedin, FL at 11:35 p.m. and a police car began to try and pull him over. He tried to get away, running a stop sign and a red light. Upon running the light, he crashed into a Jeep, KILLING at 34-year-old woman, 34-year-old Danielle Edwards. By the way, she was married with 3 children.

Here is what the woman’s sister-in-law said:

… This was my sister-in-law. She leaves behind a loving husband and 3 great children. We found out this morning and it is a blow to the entire family. I’m sure the parents of the teen driving the car that hit her will place the blame on the police. A 15 year has no business being out at 11:30 pm. He has destoryed a family and should pay of it a very long time. There is no such thing as a youthful mistake anymore. He and his parents must be held accountable for his and their actions. She was full of life and now it’s been taken away. The life of a family has been taken away. He chose to be in that car and run from the police. My sister-in-law did not choose to die last night.

Larue has been charged with fleeing and eluding, running a stop sign, and driving without a valid driver’s license. The car Larue was  driving was registered to his mother. Did she let him drive her car?

Another 15-year-old boy in Ruskin, FL (in Hillsborough County) was driving his DAD’S car 98 mph at 3 a.m. (!!) when he was spotted by a police officer who tried to pull up behind him to look at his tags., The kid, Alberto Flores, slammed on his breaks and the police cruiser ended up bottom-up in a ditch. Another police officer then spotted the brat and engaged the police in a high-speed chase. The kid then tried to ram a police car and subsequently crashed into utility pole.

Apparently Flores has a lengthy record. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer, felony fleeing and eluding, leaving the scene of a crash, driving without a valid license and operating an unregistered vehicle.

His dad said he did not know the kid had taken his car.

In both cases the children were out by themselves too late at night. There is no reason whatsoever that the parents should not have taken measures to know where their children were. One of these brats killed an innocent woman. I often drive home through Dunedin from my mom’s that time of night. I see the difference in the way people drive that late. And, with TWO incidents involving underage drivers in one night, I am led to believe there are a WHOLE lot more kids out there driving around who are not caught.

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Comment by Christine
2007-08-02 14:52:35

I agree…the parents here need to be held accountable for what their kids do. If you are worried that your kid will take the car in the middle of the night, then keep the keys someplace where he can’t get to them. Sheesh!

But I can tell you one thing…these parents who aren’t paying attention to what their kids are doing now, will be the ones to come out of the woodwork and sue someone, should their little darlings get hurt or killed while out joyriding.

Also, especially in the case of the kid who killed the woman, they should be tried as adults. If they think that they are adult enough to drive a car, they are adult enough to face the consequences.

Comment by Genii
2007-08-02 23:34:50

This is the second friend I have lost to an erratic 15 yr old boy illegally behind the wheel at night. Last year I lost my friend John in Sarasota who was hit by a 15yr old while he was riding his bike back from his college library. This morning, I awake to yet another one of my dear friends being killed by an underage driver behind the wheel. Parents should be held accountable as well as the teen.

Comment by Pfunk
2007-08-06 22:56:16

I remember being that age and wanting to take the car without my parents’ permission, but knowing that I would be in serious trouble. It didn’t help that I grew up in a small town and one of the senior officers was the father of a good friend of mine. What stopped me? The threat of punishment or the responsibility instilled in me at a very young age? I’d have to say both.

Many parents today are afraid of their children and spend more time trying to be their friend when they would be better served by being their PARENT.
That’s my assessment at least. It’s their choice, but their choice has a greater impact than they think it does. These parents are by and large my age. Weren’t they raised with the same values?
That’s the question. Kids have been stealing cars and hurting people ever since there have been cars. It’s about a good foundation. That’s where it starts.

Comment by J.D.
2007-08-08 12:28:39

It’s amazing how little some people seem care about others nowadays. While teenagers have always been self-absorbed, the ones who will actually follow through on these impulses are dangerous and should be monitored.

I’m not sure it helps by holding the parents accountable. The parents who already care take steps to make sure their kids don’t have this kind of access to a car, or make sure their kids know what will happen to them if they do this kind of thing.

The parents who don’t care….won’t. And they won’t change their behavior one iota.

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