Three teens in critical condition after crash on I-75 Tuesday morning

Posted: 7:47 AM, Aug 10, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-10 07:50:30-04

Three teens are in critical condition after a trip to Cedar Point ended with a mistake.

10 Michigan teenagers were on their way home from the amusement park when police say the 17-year-old driver and passenger tried to switch seats while on I-75. Which caused the van to roll multiple times around 1:15 a.m. Tuesday.

The car went off the left side of I-75 and into the median. Ohio State Highway Patrol say two teens were thrown out of the Chevrolet Express Van.

"When I've been out on the road and I've had to make these notifications to parents, that their teenager may not be coming home," said Sgt. Andy Douville.

It's a message Douville never likes to deliver because as a parent himself he knows it's a parents nightmare.

That's why he heads State Police's Precision Driving Unit to help new drivers learn how to stay in control behind the wheel.

"We get them in here," Douville said demonstrating one of the tests. "We cue them when to brake and then they have to steer out and around obstacles."

Incidents like this one are the reason 16-year-olds can't drive from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. unless for school or work. They also aren't allowed to have more than one passenger unless a parent or guardian is in the car.

Sgt. Douville says lack of experience is why accidents like these are up in Michigan. "One of the issues that you see with the teenage drivers is they'll come out and they just don't have the age or the experience or maturity to make those decisions out here."

In 2014 there were 80 teen driver deaths in the state. That number has jumped 23% to 98 in 2015.

Similar decisions are ones Emily Wapplehorst says she and her friends never thought through when she was 16. "We used to kind of make games about let's see how much we can swerve but you know stay with the lines," Wapplehorst said.

With friends behind the wheels and two older brothers Wapplehorst didn't get her license until she was 18.

She says the extra time allowed her to mature as a person and driver.

"I had the extra year and a half just to practice without being on my home," said Wapplehorst.

Time to grow and more training are two things Sgt. Douville wishes more teens had before getting their license.