Police warn teens to buckle up after serious crash injures 5

(credit: Chris Palmer)

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Police in Cranston are reminding teenagers and everyone else who gets behind the wheel to buckle up after a serious crash in their city sent five teens to the hospital.

Cranston Police Lt. Russell Henry says the teens are lucky to be alive after the crash on Plainfield Pike early Sunday morning.

“Everybody involved is pretty fortunate at this point,” he said.

One passenger, a 17-year-old girl, was ejected from the car and suffered broken bones and a head injury. Only one person in the car, a 16-year-old girl in the passenger seat, was wearing a seatbelt, according to police.

“The slogan ‘seatbelts save lives’ isn’t just a slogan, it’s the truth,” Henry added. “And we’ve seen it.”

Henry said speed was a factor in the crash. Blake Carpenter, 18, was behind the wheel when the car slammed into a utility pole and rolled until it hit a fence. According to the police report obtained by Eyewitness News, a passenger told officers Carpenter was going at least 60 miles per hour leading up to the crash in an area where the posted speed limit is 40 miles per hour.

“The lesson is that when an accident like this happens and it turns into a tragedy, kids have to realize you can’t undo it. There’s no do-overs,” said Henry.

Carpenter now faces charges of reckless driving and four counts of driving to endanger. Even though all the passengers were taken to the hospital for their injuries, Henry said it could have been far worse.

“It’s important to wear your seatbelt and drive carefully,” he said. “Kids need to understand that if a crash like this happens it has significant consequences.”

Henry said there were no fatal accidents in Cranston in 2015, and he hopes to keep that trend going this year.

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