Wearing a Seat Belt Crucial to Driver Safety


Law enforcement is reminding everyone who travels by car to always wear a seat belt, in light of a fatal accident that killed two children, Monday morning. 

Maxine Wade, 27, Carlisa Crowell, 29, and two girls, one nine years old and the other just six lost their lives in a collision on I-77 with 35-year-old Cory Sheward. Sheward was allegedly under the influence when he hit them with his Dodge Ram. 

Paul Blume, Southern Regional Highway Safety Program and Beckley Police captain, says if the victims were wearing seat belts, there could have been more than just five total survivors. 

“It is your number one defense in the event of a crash,” Blume says. “Nothing else out there can help you more than a seat belt. Obviously the air bags in the car are a big help as well, but they have to be used in conjunction with the seat belt.”

Officers of law enforcement encourage all drivers to wear their seat belt in the proper way. Not just because it could save their life, but because it’s law, and the driver could face fines. 

Blume also noted the six-year-old girl who died in the collision should have been in a proper safety seat. 

Child passenger safety technician and Beckley firefighter, Ernie Parsons, is an expert in installing these car seats.
“A vehicle’s seat belt system is designed to hold an adult sized body,” Parsons tells 59News. “So naturally a smaller framed person, a child or infant: they can’t be held in the car properly. So the child safety seats help do that.”

The four others in the Ford Explorer were seriously injured and are being treated at a hospital here in the area. Their names and conditions haven’t been released at this time. 

Sheward, meanwhile, is still being treated for his injuries, and will be arrested once he is out of the hospital. He is expected to face four counts of DUI causing death and another four counts of DUI causing bodily injury.

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