About a quarter of 15- to 24-year-olds who died in 2010 were killed in motor vehicle accidents, according to the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The motor vehicle deaths significantly outpaced the other top culprits: firearm wounds, homicides, suicides and accidental poisonings.
While the number of young drivers involved in fatal crashes has dropped significantly over the past decade, 15- to 20-year-old drivers were at the wheel in 10% of deadly accidents in 2010, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's latest numbers.
A community devastated
Teddy bears now line the guardrail by the crash site. Mourners left notes for the teens, several of whom were students at Warren schools.
"We're a community that celebrates our victories together, whether they're in the classroom or on the sports fields and arenas. So we're also a community that pulls together and cares for each other at times like this," Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said.
Grieving friends and classmates gathered to mourn Sunday night at the Willard K-8 School, where two of those killed attended. Community leaders initially discussed closing area schools but decided it was important to keep them open Monday.
"We actually had some of the students who were siblings of some of the deceased, and they came to school today, and I think they needed that support," Warren schools Superintendent Michael Notar said at a news conference Monday, fighting back tears at times.
"I think in times like these (affected students) reach out to teachers and to other students that they feel comfortable being around. And so we just wanted to keep our doors open for our students and provide that support that they may not get if we close school and leave them at home," Notar said.
Grief counselors visited local schools Monday to help students and staff with the emotional aftermath.
Ashia Cayson said she wants others to learn from the shock of losing her sister.
"Pick up the phone and call your siblings, your family and tell them you love them. You never know what can happen. Tomorrow is not promised to anybody."