Underage Drinking Blamed For Deadly Crash

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A 19-year-old is facing charges following a car crash that killed one teenager and injured two.

Police in High Point, North Carolina, were called to respond to the crash at around 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 15, according to WGHP. Officers found a 2003 BMW 325i with four people in it had crashed into a tree.

Preliminary reports say the the driver, 19-year-old Dwight Gray Jr., briefly left the roadway when he overcorrected, running off the road and crashing into the tree. Police say speed and alcohol were also factors in the crash.

One teen, 17-year-old Jacob Goeke, was transported to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Another passenger is reported to be in critical condition.

Gray had minor injuries. He was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released. Police have now charged him with driving while consuming under the age of 21. Additional charges may be added as the investigation continues.

Beth Ammons, who lives near the site of the crash, says that the area often has cars speeding through and that she has alerted police about speeding in the area for years.

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"I've called several times to see if maybe a speed trap could be set up or something can be done," she said.

Drivers under drinking age make up 10 percent of all licensed drivers, but are responsible for 14 percent of DUI related fatalities in North Carolina. The state has cracked down on underage DUIs, instituting harsh penalties, according to Nolo.

North Carolina is a "zero tolerance" state, meaning that a driver under the age of 21 can be cited for a DUI with a blood alcohol content of .01 percent. For those over the age of 21, the legal blood alcohol limit is .08 percent. 

A first drunk driving conviction can lead to a year in prison, license suspension, and/or hefty fines.

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According to the CDC, people between the ages of 12 to 20 drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. More than 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by minors is done so in the form of binge drinking.

Excessive drinking has led to 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year. Around 8 percent of high school students have admitted to driving while under the influence. Nearly 20 percent of teenagers also said that they have ridden with a driver who was under the influence.

Sources: WGHP, Nolo, CDC / Featured Image: perthhdproductions/Flickr / Embedded Images: High Point Police via WXII, Pixabay

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