Teen dies after vehicle carrying 4 others rolls

8:00 AM, May 21, 2007   |    comments
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Saturday afternoon, shortly after 4:30, state troopers responded to Weld County Road 12 just east of Weld County Road 31.

Upon arrival they found a white 2003 Dodge Dakota pick-up truck that had lost control and rotated counter clockwise before skidding off the left side of the road and rolling one-and-a-half times.

Passenger Mandy Brown, 14, of Fort Lupton, was partially ejected and sustained serious injuries. She was airlifted to Denver Health but later died at the hospital. Officials say she was not wearing a seatbelt.

Kiersten Duffy and Rachel Inman, both 14, of Fort Lupton, were not injured. The fourth passenger, 18-year-old Wesley Rheads of Erie, received minor injuries and was taken to Good Samaritan of Lafayette. Officials say none of the teens were wearing seatbelts.

Troopers say 19-year-old Justin M. Vanderhoff of Greeley, was driving the car and sustained minor injures but was not transported. Officials say he was not wearing his seat belt.

Vanderhoff was arrested and taken to Weld County Jail. They do not suspect drugs or alcohol but say excessive speed is a contributing factor.

The "Click It or Ticket" campaign gets underway Monday. For the next two weeks, officers across Colorado will be issuing tickets to drivers who are stopped for a traffic violation and are not buckled up.

Troopers say there could have been a different outcome if Mandy Brown was wearing a seat belt.

"We do believe if she was restrained, it might be possible she would have been alive today," Trooper Gilbert Mares with the Colorado State Patrol said.

Last year, 381 people died on state highways. Sixty-one percent of them were not wearing seat belts.

The State Patrol and 100 law enforcement agencies across the state are participating in the campaign. It runs from May 21st through June 3rd.

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