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Powell driving program follows deadly crash

6:36 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
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A weekend vehicle accident involving a recent Powell High School graduate brings to light the problem of teen driving in the North Knox County town.

"Dreyson Stewart was a fine boy and well liked because he had a wonderful personality," said his teacher and high school debate coach Laura Wittington.

Stewart died after his motorcycle ran into a pickup truck on East Emory Road in Halls.

Powell High has seen its share of accidents this past academic year: senior Austin Gordon was hurt from a single-vehicle crash in October; Koby Hyde is still recovering from a car crash this month.

"That's why it's so pertinent for us, as a community and as a school and faculty, for our kids to be safe drivers," Wittington added.

Thanks to Powell business leaders, a Michigan-based driving program is the latest step to help curb these accidents.

"Because of all the issues Powell has had with accidents and fatalities of the teen drivers, we try each year to make it more real, without them being involved in an accident," said Sage Kohler with State Farm Insurance.

Arrive Alive gives students a real road review on what it is like to be distracted or intoxicated behind the wheel. Kohler said this was planned prior to the weekend crash.

"I believe it's the narrowness of the roads (in Powell), the curvy roads, and just the countryside out here," Kohler said. "It's easy for the roads to get bad weather conditions and it's easy for kids to get distracted."

Kohler said since 1998, there have been more than 20 fatalities involving Powell High students and recent graduates involving motor vehicle crashes.

Teacher Wittington hopes the program will help prevent more scenarios like what happened this weekend.

"We expect (teens) to handle a heavy vehicle and be pros automatically. But it takes practice," said Wittington.

For more information on the Arrive Alive program, visit their website.

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