A Fairborn Digital Academy student was killed — and three other teens were taken to the hospital — following a single-vehicle crash in New Carlisle on Sunday night.
Jason Whitt, 17, of New Carlisle, was killed after being ejected from a car after crashing in the 900 block of South Medway-Carlisle Road, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The crash occurred around 7:25 p.m. Sunday.
“Fairborn Digital Academy staff and students are grieving with the family of our lost student. Jason is being remembered for his smile, laugh and kindness toward others,” a statement from Executive Director of Fairborn Digital Academy Erik Tritsch said.
Whitt died after the 2002 Saturn SL he was driving went left of center off the left side of the road, and struck a utility pole on the passenger side, according to OSHP. Whitt was pronounced dead at the scene.
The three other passengers in the vehicle — also teens and including Whitt’s younger brother —were all hurt in the crash.
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Johnathon Whitt, 15, a sophomore at Tecumseh High School, was seated in the backseat behind his brother and suffered life-threatening injuries. He was taken to Miami Valley Hospital.
Johnathon Whitt was in critical condition Monday afternoon, according to Miami Valley Hospital.
Michael Bittner, 17, of Beavercreek, was sitting in the front passenger seat and was also thrown from the vehicle. He was taken to Soin Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. It is unclear if Bittner was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, according to OSHP.
Bittner was in “good condition” Monday afternoon, according to a spokesperson for Soin Medical Center.
Jayden Stacy, 16, of Fairborn, was sitting in the back seat behind Bittner. She sustained serious injuries and was taken to Miami Valley Hosptial. Stacy was not listed as a patient at the hospital Monday, according to Miami Valley Hospital.
Molly Murray, founder and owner of Pawsitive Warriors Rescue of New Carlisle, said Jason and Johnathon Whitt had been volunteering with the animal rescue group for about two years.
“They were the sweetest kids. Just so polite. They wouldn’t let me lift anything,” Murray said. “Just such nice kids.”
Murray said she rushed to the hospital on Sunday night after she heard the news about the accident.
“There were tons of friends there, lots of teenagers,” Murray said. “It just feels surreal. I just can’t believe it.”
There have been five youth-related fatal crashes in Clark and Champaign county in the last year. A youth-related crash is defined as a crash involving a driver between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, according to OSHP’s website.
One of the most recent victims was Evan Whitt.
Evan Whitt, a sophomore at Graham Local School, died at Miami Valley Hosptial on Sept. 23. Whitt’s black 2006 Cadillac was headed west in the 8400 block of U.S. 36 around 2:35 p.m. on Sept. 20 when it went off the left side of the roadway and struck several trees, according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.
It’s unclear if Evan Whitt is related to Jason and Jonathan Whitt.
Teen drivers are far more likely than other drivers to be involved in fatal crashes because they lack driving experience and tend to take greater risks, according to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety’s 2019 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws.
Ohio lawmakers have recently introduced a bill, House Bill 106, that would extend the learner’s permit time-frame from six months to one year for drivers under the age of 18.
Ohio teens can get their permit beginning at the age of 15 ½. They must then wait six months before getting a license.
The bill passed the House Transportation Committee for the last three years but didn’t get a floor vote before the session ended. The bill has already passed out of the House Transportation Committee this year but hasn’t gotten a floor vote.
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