Teens reminded to use caution while driving after recent deaths on roads

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – A warning to teenagers before they get behind the wheel. Two teens died within a week while driving on Columbia County roads. While we don’t know the exact cause of these two deaths, they serve as a sobering reminder for teens to use caution on the road.

A cross now stands where teenager Savannah Gavlinski died after colliding with a semi-truck, Friday. The coroner says witnesses saw Gavlinski driving erratically.

A funeral is being held Wednesday for Drew Passmore, who died in a car accident that happened two Saturdays ago after clipping a vehicle and running off the road.

While we don’t know the exact cause of these teen’s accidents, Columbia County officials say they see distracted teens behind the wheel on a regular basis.

“Oh I can just answer this text or oh, I can answer this telephone call. But sadly enough, they do have accidents and they do have crashes related to those situations.”

Deputy Gary Owens says there are so many distractions for teens these days.

“The distractions of the radio, the distractions of the car itself,” Deputy Owens says. “Taking their eyes off the road. Taking their hands off the wheel. Taking their mind off driving.”

Here’s a list of just some of the teens Juvenile Court Judge Doug Flanagan has on his list who have broken traffic laws.

“The reason these teens have limited driving for the first six months to a year is because when they’re learning to drive, you can get in accidents and get hurt.”

Flanagan says he just dealt with an underage DUI case.

“Drunk driving is treated the same as adults, you do mandatory time in jail.”

Sadly, Judge Flanagan says these two recent teen deaths are serving as a reminder for parents to talk to their kids. Because despite what their children may think, they are not invincible behind the wheel.

“Hopefully these young children can be an example to other people so they can avoid some of the mishaps and their family doesn’t have to suffer.”

Investigators believe that alcohol may have played a role in Savannah Gavlinski’s death. However, we are waiting for toxicology reports.

On the incident report for Drew Passmore’s accident, “too fast for conditions” is cited as the main contributing factor in that wreck.

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