Anderson Co. sees spike in fatal teen crashes - FOX Carolina 21

Anderson Co. sees spike in fatal teen crashes

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An Anderson County road where the coroner says teens need to drive cautiously. (File/FOX Carolina) An Anderson County road where the coroner says teens need to drive cautiously. (File/FOX Carolina)
Wren High School students hold a vigil for Lacee Dial. (Sept. 16, 2012/FOX Carolina) Wren High School students hold a vigil for Lacee Dial. (Sept. 16, 2012/FOX Carolina)
PIEDMONT, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The Anderson County coroner's office has reported a spike in fatal crashes involving teen drivers in the last couple of weeks.

Four young people under the age of 21 have lost their lives in the month of September.   

Most of the accidents have occurred on back roads, places that teenagers likely never would have suspected could cost them their lives.

Wren High School student Madison Smith was best friends with Lacee Dial, a student killed in a crash on Saturday, since they were young. 

Smith said Lacee, 17, was a country girl and loved pageants and her close relationship with God.

Smith said Lacee told her she never thought she would live to be very old, but that she was meant to make a difference for others.

Family and friends say Lacee is already inspiring the spiritual lives of many, but they also hope her story will encourage other teens to be safe on the roads.

"I've heard the story about kids who passed away, but this is my best friend," said Smith. "I feel like people need to start paying attention, people might not care if they die but the people they leave are going to be hurting."

Deputy Coroner Don McCown says Lacee may have been speeding because she was running late, a mistake he hopes other teens won't make.

"When you are trying to make up for time, it's not the time to do it in a vehicle," said McCown. "Being in a car going 70 to 80 mph would be the same thing as taking a loaded gun and aiming it at a crowd, you never know what will happen."

He said inexperience may have contributed to all of the teen accidents, and he supports raising the driving age and banning texting while driving in the state.

On Sept. 8, 17-year-old James Moore of Walhalla died in a crash in Iva when the coroner said the teen driver ran off Sarah Simpson Road, hit a ditch then some trees before overturning.

On Sept. 7, 15-year-old Matthew "Jet" McClellion was killed while driving back from visiting his father's grave site, when he lost control and tried to overcorrect, but the car flipped, according to the coroner.

The Dial family just hopes the streak of deaths will come to an end.

"I can't imagine losing another friend, even if it was somebody I didn't know because I know what I'm going through," said Smith.

The Dial family has set up a memorial fund for Lacee on PayPal under the email address jdialm@gmail.com.

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