Teens Vow to Change Driving Habits

Monday, January 12th 2009, 6:57 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

MUSTANG, Oklahoma -- A 16-year-old died Saturday after suffering injuries following a fatal accident on Highway 66.

On January 6, Bailey Smith was attempting to pass a vehicle, when she hit another vehicle head on, killing DHS worker Paul Nguyen on his 43 birthday.

Smith was taken to a hospital, but died five days later.

Students at Mustang High school said they continue to learn from Smith, although she's now gone.

"When she laughed, she had a one-of-a-kind laugh," friend Blair Chance said. "It would make anybody, no matter how upset or sad you were, it would make you laugh, no matter what."

Memories brought smiles to her friends as they mourn the loss of their classmate.

"It's a big loss," friend Chance said. "She wasn't done here, she had so much more to do and accomplish, and she had a lot more people to touch."

Randy Jacoby, who teaches defensive driving classes for teens at OSU OKC, believes teens need more time behind the wheel preparing for the road. He said they make similar mistakes because of inexperience.

"They don't understand how fast that car is going and can't shut it down," Jacoby said.

For Smith's friends, they said they'll be more attentive while driving after suffering the loss of their friend.

"I definitely put on my seatbelt every time. I don't like to be on the phone now at all and I'm more cautious," Chance said.

That's at least something these girls can do to honor their friend.

Smith's family continues to feel the pain of losing their daughter, but also face medical bills.

Anyone wishing to donate to the Smith family to help with their teen's medical costs can make a donation at any Bank of Oklahoma to the Bailey Smith Contribution Fund.