Panama City- 19 year old Madison Hair, 19 years old Kyle Livingston, and now 17 year old Chase Gilligan. They are three Bay County teenagers all killed within the last month in car accidents.
Gilligan, the most recent, died Sunday morning after losing control of his car on Highway 77 southbound reportedly on his way home from a friend's house. According to the crash report, Gilligan hit a power pole support wire, then a barbed wire fence, and finally a tree. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The tragedy hit especially close to home for the Bay County Sheriff's Office. Gilligan's father, Ron Gilligan, is a criminal investigator there. Sheriff Frank McKeithan issued a statement Sunday:
"Dealing with the loss of one of our own officer's children is like dealing with the loss of one of our own children. And it's having quite an impact on the whole sheriff's office family. We would just ask that your thoughts and prayers go out to the Gilligan family."
As family and friends continue mourning, this most recent tragedy highlights the daily dangers drivers face while behind the wheel. From texting and driving to tourism and the weather, Bay County teens arguably have the odds stacked against them when it comes to driver safety. The school district also stopped offering drivers' education courses at least five years ago.
As emotions are still so raw in the wake of losing yet another one of their own, members of the community agreed safety starts with "awareness."
A candle light vigil will take place in memory of Chase Gilligan at Mosley High School's gym Monday at 7 p.m. A bank account has also been set up if you'd like to help the family. If you're interested you can go to any Doral Bank and ask for the Giligan Benefit account.