Written by Jerry Engler Wednesday, 28 May 2008 05:31
Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker said that Clarissa Torronez, 17, of Peabody apparently did all she could as a skillful driver to regain control of her car in a one-car accident Sunday, May 18, in which her sister, Kylie, 15, died.
Kylie may not have survived the accident because the fabric of her safety belt broke, allowing her to be thrown through the windshield, Becker said.
The girls are the daughters of Roxanne and James Wallace of Peabody.
The accident occurred a little before 10:28 p.m., the time at which Torronez called Marion County 911, Becker said. It was on 90th Road, a quarter-mile east of Jade, while the girls were enroute home to Peabody from a visit to friends, he said.
Becker said the way in which the wreck occured happens often with drivers on gravel roads. The 2003 GMC Envoy apparently drifted to the right until a wheel dropped into the ditch, he said.
Torronez was doing a good job slowing the car down, and regaining control when it struck a culvert that threw it in the air, and rolled it, he said.
Becker said Kylie was pronounced dead at the scene. He said Clarissa was flown by Life Team to Wesley Medical Center, and apparently has been recovering satisfactorily.
A donation fund to help the family meet medical expenses has been established at the Peabody State Bank.
Becker said he has no explanation for why the belt broke, but he is sending it in to a national safety agency to see if a determination can be made.
The car did have an air bag, he said, but that isn’t designed to deploy unless the collision is a head-on impact.
Becker said he has repeatedly seen safety belts save lives in accidents. He verified to his satisfaction that both girls were wearing their safety belts.