Driving instructor: Lesson can be learned from fatal White Co. crash

Instructor says teens can learn an important lesson from White Co. crash (WLFI)

WHITE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — After Benjamin Edwards pleaded guilty to recklessly driving and crashing a car killing one and seriously injuring two others, a Lafayette driving instructor talks about the lesson to be learned from the crash.

At All-Star Driving School in Lafayette, every class watches a shocking video.

“But behind the wheel of the car, we’re invincible — the thing is we’re not,” said the host of the video just before the video shows a teen who died in a serious car crash.

Driving instructors say this video sends a lasting message because the images are from real car crashes and killed real teens.

“You’ve got to take this seriously and you’ve got to be very, very careful,” said driving instructor Tom Whaley.

Benjamin Edwards, 17, had to learn his lesson the hard way. Edwards admits to recklessly driving the car that killed Christian Burns and injured Alexander Alge and Alexandra Deryn on May 31.

“Ben Edwards is devastated by what happened,” said Edwards’ attorney Bruce Graham. “He never intended that anybody be injured, and I think it’s also probably important to note that there were no drugs and alcohol involved in this incident.”

According to court documents, an accident reconstructionist with Indiana State Police determined Edwards was driving faster than 100 mph when he crashed the car near the intersection of County Roads 450 West and 700 South in White County. The speed limit on that road was 55 mph.

News 18 asked Graham why Edwards was going that fast and if phones or social media played a role in the crash.

“You know, there’s been a lot of misinformation floating around about this case,” replied Graham. “And I really don’t want to get into a whole lot of details before the sentencing.”

But even without the details, Driving instructor Tom Whaley said there is a lesson to be learned from this crash. Driving instructors say they don’t just teach teens how to be good drivers, they teach them how to be good passengers as well.

“When you’re a passenger in that car, that guy’s got your life in his hands,” Whaley said. “So, you know, he gets on the phone, you need to tell him to get off the phone.”

Whaley uses real-life examples like the White County crash and the video of real teen crashes to send a lasting message.

“I can only hope that they can remember all of this when they get out on the road,” he said.

If a judge accepts Edward’s guilty plea, he will serve three years: one on formal probation and two informal. He will serve 100 hours of community service work and will have an 11 p.m. curfew until June 2017. Edwards’ driver’s license will be suspended until he’s 19 years old.

Edwards can petition for expungement in two years upon completion of his probation.

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