Parents of Teens Killed in Car Crash Lobby to Change FL Driving Laws

By  | 

Sneads- Nine months ago Teddy Jeter (15) texted his mother Liesha asking if he could ride home from school with his friend, Bo McClamma then go to the Sneads High School volley ball game.

"We had just decided ourselves we were not going to let him go unless we knew exactly where he was going and how long it would take for him to get there" Liesha explained.

But McClamma lived less than a mile from the Jeter's home - and from McClamma's to Sneads High was also under a mile. They decided to let him go, and instructed Teddy to only go from Bo's to the game and back home.

"This was the very first time we had let him go with anyone other than an adult in a vehicle" Liesha said. "The very first time."

But at some point, the boy's plans changed, unbeknownst to their parents. From what they have been able to piece together, Liesha said, "They were going to go get a friend give him the ride and come back. And I'm sure my son didn't think it as a big deal. But somewhere along the way they swapped drivers, which we don't know why of course because they're not here to tell us."

Teddy lost control of the car and hit a tree on Sand Ridge Church Road. Teddy, Bo McClamma and Brandon Hobbs never made it home.

Three lives lost too soon, and three families forever changed. But as Teddy's sister Emma (10) showed us, something may never change- like her big brothers room.

"This is where he kicked off his socks, right there" she said pointing to a pair of black socks under his computer desk. "And this is his chair and this is his remote."

His room has remained just as it was the last day of his life. His parents, looking at all of the things 16 year old boys love, video games, football- said they though Florida should take a lesson from the majority of states in the nation and pass some a passenger restriction law for teenage drivers.

Florida is one of only three states in the country that allows 16 year old drivers to have non-adult passengers in the vehicle.

The Jeters are working to change that."We just feel if, that law had been in place he would not have gone and it would have been a different outcome" Liesha said.

"We didn't realize the statistics- that teens were eight times more likely to die in a car crash with passengers under the age of 18" Teddy's father, Teddy Sr. added.

The family has begun a quest to change the law and Emma even took it one step further.

"Emma" she read, "thank you for your note on passenger restriction laws. My prayers are with you for the loss of your brother and his friends. Rick."

On a recent field trip to the state capital, Emma gave a hand written letter to first lady, Ann Scott who shared the note with her husband, Governor, Rick Scott.

"He didn't make up his mind about [the law]" she said, but [my parents] were proud of me."

But the Jeters have not been the only ones lobbing law makers. A high school friend of Teddy's, Junior, Jenna Poole was one of 300 girls selected to join Girls State. For eight days she'll sit in on legislative sessions - and propose a bill of her own.

"It's something that has touched her and shes very passionate about it. She's supposed to take the information we have and write her own bill in order to at least get it out on the floor and get it talked about in the capital. Hopefully it will help" Liesha said.

Teddy told us, "The bills through Girls State actually do become law"- "Every once in a while" Liesha added, "yes, they have had bills in the past become law."

The Jeters met with Representative Marty Coley who said she too would try to bring legislative attention to the cause.

Though nothing can bring the three boys back or take away the pain their absence left- the family hopes moving forward in their honor will help save other lives.