A Tragic Local Lesson on the Importance of Seatbelts | The Law Offices of G Turner Howard III

Every day, someone is injured in a car accident. 

From 2015 to 2019, there were 13,379 auto accidents in Knox County alone. And in those accidents, nearly 3,000 people were injured, over 10,000 people experienced property damage only, and 54 people were killed. That’s 54 lives tragically lost— and who knows how many others facing injury-related challenges to this day.

The worst part about these numbers? In some cases, accident fatalities and injuries can be avoided if simple safety measures, like wearing your seatbelt, are taken. 

Local Loss Teaches a Valuable Lesson

Late this month, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office (BSCO) confirmed the tragic death of a young Knoxville man. Just 18 years old, this young man was driving with a friend in Blount County one Tuesday evening when everything changed.

“Reportedly traveling northwest on Old Walland Highway in a 2002 Ford Explorer, authorities say [the driver] crested a small hill that curved left,” and eventually lost control of the vehicle as a result. After the driver was pronounced dead at the scene, the passenger was flown to UT Medical Center, where he is currently listed as stable.

According to accident reports and officers on the scene that day, this fatal crash that took the local driver’s life occurred around 7:45 p.m. near Melrose Station. Further details from the scene explain that the driver was partially ejected from his vehicle, while his friend (the passenger) was completely ejected by way of the windshield.

The Importance of Seatbelts in This Accident

If you’re wondering what this has to do with wearing your seatbelt, the answer is everything. 

According to reports, neither the driver or passenger in this vehicle was wearing a seatbelt. And while it’s impossible to determine whether or not seatbelts would have saved the driver’s life (or even further protected the injured passenger), one can confidently conclude that neither young men would have been ejected from the vehicle if seatbelts were properly utilized.

To be clear… accidents happen. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, a tragic accident like this is unavoidable. Our goal at G3 Help Me isn’t to make you wonder what may have happened, but to educate you and your loved ones on extremely important driver and passenger safety practices. What may seem like a small measure at the time can make a huge difference in terms of safety… 

You Matter to Us!

In this accident specifically, the vehicle reportedly swerved off road and struck a tree before eventually flipping and coming to a rest on its top. With that being said, a seatbelt may not have been able to protect the passenger as the vehicle flipped. But in far too many other accidents, including countless G3 cases, it could have.

For the safety of yourself and those who matter most to you, it’s critical to take every possible precaution when driving on the road. Many accidents occur just miles from the driver’s destination, meaning it’s important to wear a seatbelt at all times— no matter how long you or your passengers are actually in the vehicle.

At G3, everything we do is to ensure the safety of our clients and community. If you or someone you know is looking for help after an accident, we’re here to help.

Give us a call at (865) 658-4012 to schedule your free, confidential case evaluation today. And as always, stay safe out there.

— Turner Howard & Team, G3 Help Me Law | Wreck Attorneys

*This information in this article is sourced from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, as well as local Knoxville news source, WBIR. All names have been altered or removed from this article out of respect for the family and friends of those injured or killed.


After spending his secondary years of study at The McCallie School in Chattanooga, G Turner Howard III earned his BA at Tulane University. A member of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, he received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Before becoming an attorney, he earned a Master’s and Doctor of Divinity at Andrews Theological Seminary and Columbia Theological Seminary. He also served as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army in Vietnam. With more than 20 years of experience, his firm has helped clients receive millions of dollars for personal injury, and in many cases, much faster than they ever expected.
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