Two months after a car accident that killed three of her friends, Lexi Larson is speaking out about how alcohol played a role in the crash.
Underage drinking and driving under the influence is a problem in Arizona. Citations issued in 2014 are more than three times the number of citations issued in 2005. One of the most horrific accidents of underage drinking happened near Lake Pleasant just after midnight on October 18. This is the wreck that nearly took Larson’s life. The 17 year-old, now recovered, says alcohol was the reason for the crash, and the reason she lost her best friend. “It can happen to anyone at any time,” Larson said.
The Car Accident
Larson and three of her best friends climbed up into the bed of a pickup truck on their way home. “I remember just dancing in the back of the truck, because they were playing music. We were having fun,” Larson said. “We weren’t paying any attention and next thing you know, the whole car starts shaking.”
According to Peoria police, the truck Larson and her friends were riding in tried to pass a Jeep by merging into the oncoming lane on a two-lane highway when it hit an oncoming car. Larson says she and her friends were thrown from the truck. As she lay bleeding on the side of the road, she remembers thinking, “I was going to die.” Thirteen people were injured. And three died, including Sunni Goddard, Larson’s best friend.
According to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, 421 “under 21 DUI’s” were given in 2005. There have been 1,266 in 2014 so far.
“A lot of kids my age just don’t think about it,” said Larson. And it’s for this reason she’s speaking out, in hopes that she can be the voice of reason in a teen’s head. “My wounds will heal. My hair will grow back, but the memory, that’s something that will never go away,” Larson said.
Driver in Car Accident
The driver in the car accident has not been charged or publicly identified. Peoria police say that while initial tests show there was alcohol in his system after the crash, the more-substantial blood-test results have not come in yet. Larson has forgiven the driver, but blames herself for not paying attention.