Of the 23,714 drivers and passengers killed in auto crashes in 2016, more than half of the teens and adults were not wearing seat belts. Simply using a seat belt can reduce injuries and fatalities in serious collisions by half. Without the use of a seatbelt, people are 30 times more likely to be ejected in serious crashes. Of those who are completely ejected in a crash, 75% suffer fatal injuries. Single-vehicle rollover crashes are the type of crashes most likely to involve an ejection.
Bluffton Today reports on a woman facing felony DUI charges after a passenger was ejected and killed in a single-vehicle accident.
25-year-old Tessa Marie Openlander is facing felony charges after a March 30th crash claimed the life of one of her passengers. Openlander was driving a 2007 Buick LaCrosse east on Bellinger Hill Road when the vehicle went off the right side of the road. Openlander overcorrected, causing the car to careen left into an embankment.
The rear passenger, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. That passenger was identified as 22-year-old Christopher Michael Clark of Savannah, Georgia. The right front passenger, who was wearing a seatbelt, sustained serious injuries in the accident.
Openlander was not wearing a seatbelt. She sustained serious injuries as well and was transported to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah following the crash. She is facing charges of felony DUI resulting in death.
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