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Reaction to teen driver's involvement with death of mother in Las Vegas, district attorney's response

Teens required to have adult in car
Posted at 9:34 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 09:08:38-05

LAS VEAGAS (KTNV) — Tuesday’s horrific crash that killed a young mother and injured her two children near Eastern Avenue and Bonanza Road has many in the community in shock.

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“These two kids don’t have a mother now, and for the rest of their lives Christmas won’t be a celebration, it will remind them of losing their mother,” said Jeff Payne of Drivers Edge.

Payne runs Driver’s Edge. It's a driving course program that’s aimed at those 21 or younger who are trying to get their permit or license.

Currently, 140,000 Southern Nevada teens and their parents have participated in the driving course.

Payne says often parents don’t think twice about their kids being old enough to drive.

“It might be a hard decision but if you don’t feel your kid is ready for the responsibility of driving, don’t just toss them the keys, be involved,” Payne said.

According to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, the driver should not have been driving.

The driver has not been immediately identified but a person can only qualify to drive with a permit at 15-1/2 years old in Nevada, without having a full license.

That permit requires a licensed 21-year-old to be in the passenger seat. However, police say a 16-year-old was the only passenger at the time of Tuesday's crash.

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Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson says parents need to be pro-active.

“I’m a parent myself and I always try to teach responsibilities to my kids and I think every parent should have that in mind, and keep a close watch on their children,” said Wolfson.

As of Wednesday night, there was no word yet on what charges, if any, the 15-year-old driver will face.

“When you choose to get behind the wheel you’re an adult, you’ll be charged as an adult. So, it’s important that parents and our community is involved to make sure our teen drivers are ready to get behind the wheel,” said Andrew Bennett with the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety.

According to police, the 15-year-old ran a red light and hit a SUV. The SUV then hit the mother and two children. The incident remains under investigation.