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Car accident rates for juniors skyrocket

At least nine St. Teresa's juniors have been involved in car accidents since the school year began.

courtesy of Sophia Prochnow

Junior Sophia Prochnow damaged her Honda in her driveway while attempting to back out. Her tailight is broken and the lower right side of her car is dented.

Madi Winfield, St. Teresa's Academy

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Junior Payton Seever was driving down I-435 Sept. 16 and was looking to change lanes when she lost control of her car and collided with a pickup truck. The truck sustained no harm, but Seever’s car, already slightly damaged, faced some minor repairs.

“The front headlight was shattered and it punched a hole into the plastic, but my car wasn’t totaled,” Seever said.

This story is just one of many from this year alone. At least nine St. Teresa’s juniors have been involved in car accidents since the beginning of the school year.

Junior Sophia Prochnow’s story is a little less commonplace.

“I was pulling out of my driveway and I wasn’t really paying attention,” Prochnow said. “I ran into my house. I hit the very edge.”

Her father came outside after hearing the noise and questioned Prochnow.

“He asked, ‘Were you texting?’ and I said, ‘I wasn’t on my phone; I was just backing up!’” Prochnow said.

Of the 226 STA students surveyed from all grades, nine percent, or 21 students, were in an accident during their junior year. One of these is junior Meredith Mulhern.

Mulhern was driving to school Sept. 12 down Wornall Road when some construction interrupted her travels.

“There was this really big truck filled with green pipes stacked like a pyramid,” Mulhern said. “I just see all the pipes start falling. I feel them hit the rear driver’s side of my car. I could’ve been killed if they would’ve hit me. I didn’t know what to do because I had only had my license for about three weeks.”

But why do these accidents keep happening? And why specifically to juniors?

Junior Bella Meisel, who was involved in an accident last October, has an idea.

“Some people come from so far away that it’s more likely that they will get in an accident,” Meisel said. “I know a ton of people come from way up north, south…All over the place.”

Katie Donaldson, also a junior, presents an alternate theory.

“It seems like we’re really careless drivers because we’re juniors and we just got our licenses recently,” Donaldson said. “We’re still learning.”

When asked to give advice to fellow drivers, Donaldson said, “You really have to think on your feet.”

“On your seat,” Meisel corrected, laughing.

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