I know my little boy just turned 7 and I have a ways to go before I have to worry about him behind the wheel or in a car with friends who are new drivers. This has got to be one of the most terrifying years to a parent. I can imagine but not yet relate. Those parental nightmares became reality to some Treasure Valley parents in July of 2018.

At the time 18-year-old Thomas L. Hunt from Meridian, now 21, was driving north on Robinson Road when he ran a stop sign and was t-boned by a vehicle going east on Kuna Road. Zachary Newman, 18, and Makaiya Lucas, 17, died in the crash after being thrown from the vehicle. Others in the car were injured as well as in the other vehicle. According to IdahoNews, Hunt pleaded guilty and was sentenced on two counts of misdemeanor vehicular homicide. Hunt was sentenced to serve ten days in jail, four years of supervised probation, license suspension for one year, 600 hours of community service, and enroll and complete the Alive at 255 driving safety program. He was also ordered to pay $1,000 in fines.

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“This was a tragic incident that claimed the lives of two of Mr. Hunt’s young friends and forever changed the lives of so many others,” said Prosecutor Bryan Taylor. “This is something that Mr. Hunt will have to live with for the rest of his life. He has taken full responsibility, and I’m hopeful he can use this experience to educate others about the dangers of distracted driving.”

This is such an important thing to teach our kids as they get ready to take the wheel. Distracted driving kills and driving with a bunch of friends in the car as a new-ish driver is also super dangerous. Stay alert, stay alive.