Victims, police laud seat belts

March 23, 1994|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Sun Staff Writer

Twelve people whose lives were saved or injuries greatly reduced by seat belts or child safety seats were honored with framed certificates by Lt. Roy Neigh at the Westminster state police barracks yesterday.

Those honored were all drivers or passengers in vehicles involved in accidents in Carroll County within the past year, said Lieutenant Neigh, barracks commander.

They are Anna Mae Warehime, Brian Keith Jones, Diana Leaman Stull, William Harry Hill, Leslie Nicol Vaselaros, Trey Miles III, Gail Lee Smith, Kimberly Freeland, Kyle Patrick Freeland, Mary Anna Phillips, Kristopher M. Phillips and Karyn E. Phillips.

Only four attended the ceremony yesterday morning and received their "Saved by the Belt" awards in person. The other certificates will be given to the recipients later.

First Sgt. Steve Reynolds said the program is sponsored by the Department of Transportation and Maryland State Police. Seat belt use is mandatory in Maryland, but people don't always comply.

Several of the recipients were involved in head-on crashes or were in vehicles that overturned after a crash. They credited the use of a seat belt or child safety seat for saving their lives or lessening their injuries.

Ms. Stull, whose car was struck and flipped on its roof at Route 140 and Sandymount Road on Feb. 20, compared use of a seat belt with a credit card: "Don't leave home without it."

Ms. Stull said she got into her car that day and found her seat belt tangled. She was not going to put it on because she was only going to Sandymount Elementary School, about two miles away.

She said as she pulled down her driveway to stop at the road, she thought, "Watch, this will be the one time I need the belt." She stopped the car and fastened it. "And am I glad."

Ms. Smith of Lineboro, whose car was crushed from behind by a pickup truck June 18, said, "I'm going to put this certificate in my son's bedroom to encourage him to wear his safety belt more often."

Ms. Smith said her 18-year-old son considers the belt a hindrance and doesn't always wear it. She said, "Sometimes the belt seems uncomfortable, but in the long run it pays off."

Ms. Vaselaros, whose car was struck from behind Oct. 8 when she was pregnant, sent her mother and 3-month-son, Trey Miles III, to accept the certificate yesterday. Tfc. Jim Emerick and state police volunteer Sharon Richardson had a certificate ready for the infant.

Ms. Warehime, whose car lost a wheel and skidded into an embankment in July, said she was not injured because she was wearing a seat belt. She said, "I read about the proper use of the seat strap portion of the safety belt just one week before my accident, and I'm sure it minimized any injury." She did not require hospital treatment.

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