Why Children Shouldn’t Drive

Tony Francis of the Orlando-based Francis Law Firm offers some pertinent observations about a recent Osceola County accident in which a fourteen-year-old girl’s inexperience behind the wheel may have resulted in the tragic death of a second female passenger riding in her car who was only twelve.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a car accident involving an underage teen behind the wheel killed a 12-year-old Osceola girl late on the evening of Saturday, June 6th. In the crowded car, Shauna O’Rourke was a passenger with two teen girls, a toddler, and her 25-year-old brother Daniel O’Rourke, who has never had a driver’s license in what can be construed as a cruel irony.

At about 10:45 p.m., the driver, 14-year-old Allison Sullivan, braked while driving on rural Absher Road east of St. Cloud, troopers said. The sudden braking caused the car to skid, before it spun onto the shoulder where it struck a culvert and flew into the air. The car overturned, ejecting Shauna O’Rourke and her brother, who were the only occupants of the car not wearing seat belts.

Shauna O’Rourke was pronounced dead at Arnold Palmer Hospital. Daniel O’Rourke suffered serious injuries and was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Sullivan and the two other passengers in the car sustained minor injuries. All of the people in the car were from St. Cloud.

It was ascertained by police that Daniel O’Rourke has never had a driver’s license. Caught driving without one in 2004, he was also guilty of not paying traffic tickets, including several bicycle violations. He also has an extensive criminal record in Osceola County, with a conviction on a drug charge earlier in 2009 the most recent infraction.

“This kind of case is truly tragic,” observed Francis of the Orlando-based Francis Law Firm. “Children killing children in car accidents are triggered by many factors, but this type of accident is all too common in our state. I think a 14-year-old is too young to drive, period – especially at night traveling at a high rate of speed on a rural highway.”

The death of the 12-year-old compounded the tragedy. “Shauna could have grown up into a fine woman,” he concludes, “She never got the chance.”

As for the 25-year-old not being behind the wheel, Francis perceives this to be a cruel irony. “He’s still relatively young too,” the lawyer said, “but he’ll have to live with the consequences of this tragedy for the rest of his life.”

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