ARLINGTON, Tenn. — It’s every parent’s worst nightmare – your teen crashing their car right after getting their driver’s license.
That’s what Shelby County sheriff’s deputies tell WREG happened Sunday morning on Chester Road near Larry Anderson in Arlington, a stretch drivers are calling ‘dangerous.’
Investigators say a 16-year-old boy slammed his car into a tree just after 9 a.m. Sunday, leaving him in critical condition at a Memphis hospital.
The impact was so hard, one of the wheels flew off, and the front of the car was completely wrapped around the tree.
“[He] came around this curve – no skid marks – apparently just lost control, maybe over-corrected and hit a tree head on,” Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Chief PIO Earle Farrell said.
It’s unclear if the wet roads had anything to do with it, but looking at the damage, investigators say the car was likely traveling much faster than the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit.
“He could have been going at least 60 miles an hour,” Farrell said, “And hitting a tree head on, it’s going to do some damage.”
Drivers WREG spoke with say that’s something they see constantly.
“People love going about 50 or 60 through here all the time,” David Ploth said. “It’s definitely a high-speed area.”
Ploth drives down Chester Road every day and says he’s had several close calls.
“It’s pretty dangerous, especially coming around this intersection and whatnot,” he said. “I’ve come out multiple times and almost been slammed into at least six or seven times in the last year.”
Farrell says the teen was wearing his seatbelt and had to be cut out of the car.
Now, investigators can only hope others think about these horrific images the next time they’re behind the wheel.
“Especially in weather like this,” Farrell said. “I see people driving in rain and sleet and I’m amazed. And you take a look at this wreck and, just slow down.”
And pass that message along to younger drivers.
“Tell your kids,” Farrell said. “He’s 16 years old, he just got his license. There’s so much they don’t know.”
WREG is still waiting for investigators to release the teen’s name.
He’s in critical condition at Regional One with a broken leg and head injuries, according to Farrell.