Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Class aims to keep kids from being statistics
By A TIMES EDITORIAL
Published September 20, 2007
The cluster of white crosses, bouquets, T-shirt and photograph sit in a ditch, a grim and all-too-familiar reminder of a lost life. ¶ This time the roadside memorial is for Gregory J. Darden, 17, killed Friday night when the vehicle in which he was riding overturned and struck a tree on a curve on two-lane Hale Road in central Pasco. The driver of the 1992 Ford Bronco was 16-year-old Kenneth A. Smith of Land O' Lakes. The Florida Highway Patrol investigation continues and charges are pending.
The next night, a half dozen teenagers packed a car in St. Petersburg driven illegally by a 15-year-old with an learner's permit. Passenger Raquel Carreras, 14, was dead a few minutes later after the driver lost control of the speeding car when he swerved into another lane, striking a friend's pickup truck.
Less than three weeks earlier, Wesley Chapel High School senior Matthew Laidley died after the Isuzu Trooper in which he was a passenger rolled over on Curley Road. Driving the SUV was fellow senior Adam Sanford who was speeding when he passed other cars by using the turn lane and shoulder before the vehicle flipped, according to troopers. The crash left Sanford and another student, Katelin Kaiser, injured seriously.
The death of Laidley spurred action at Wesley Chapel High where today teenage drivers have the opportunity to participate in a two-day Teen Driver Challenge, a state-funded program run by the Florida Sheriff's Association. There is a day of classroom instruction in the school's performing arts center followed by safe driving techniques on Friday.
Kudos to the school district and Pasco Sheriff's Office for scheduling the session, which comes after four traffic fatalities over the past 14 months involving Wesley Chapel students or recent graduates. Students shouldn't hesitate to attend. They must have access to their own car and signed participation waivers.
Times staff writer Michael Kruse observed the first class in July at Land O' Lakes High School and reported the sobering numbers: Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers and every year as many as 6,000 teens die nationally in car wrecks. In Florida, 452 teenage drivers were involved in fatal car crashes in 2005 and the crash rate for teenage drivers is nearly double the rate for drivers of all ages.
Today, some teens will get a chance to learn how to avoid becoming one of the statistics. The class is open to the 320 Wesley Chapel High School students with valid on-campus parking permits.
Over the summer, only six teenagers attended the Land O'Lakes session. Parents in Wesley Chapel need to encourage a better turnout. The motive is simple: Act as if your child's life depended on it.