Teen Dies After Possible Honda Malfunction
By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9
MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma -- Just days after graduating, Carl Albert High School students are mourning the loss of classmate Ashley Parham.
Parham was picking her brother up from football practice when she hit another car in the parking lot. The 18-year-old, who was driving a 2001 Honda Accord, was wearing a seatbelt and was not speeding, but may have been distracted.
A small number of 2001 Honda Accords were issued a recall in December for a malfunction in the driver's air bag inflator, which could throw metal pieces into the driver.
Parham died after her airbags deployed, sending an object into the teen's neck, said Cherokee Ballard, spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's office.
It severed her neck, killing her within minutes.
The investigation into a possible link between the recall and the teen's death is underway and no conclusion has been made.
Ashley Parham was always full of smiles. Her childhood friends remember her as a cheerleader at school and a person who packed on a positive attitude.
"I was shocked," said the teen's friend, Megan Cox. "I couldn't believe it. I didn't know what to do...It was just like a freak accident."
"Our hearts go out to the family and especially to the students, who witnessed this," said Chief Brandon Clabes. "It's just a really terrible situation for everybody involved."
A makeshift memorial has been set up for the bright eyed girl whose friends and family were many.
"She's just an awesome girl," said Julie Gowens. "She loved everyone and I think she's a good example of how you should treat people because you never know."
A memorial fund has been set up for Parham at any First National Bank in Midwest City.
American Honda Motor Co. released the following statement about Parham's accident:
"Our deepest condolences to the Parham family for their great loss. In any vehicle accident, it is important that a full investigation be completed before attempting to theorize the exact causes of damage or injuries. It is too early in this process to draw any conclusions."