Two Heartland Teens Killed in Crash

Two Heartland Teens Killed in Crash
By: CJ Cassidy
Stoddard County, Missouri - Highway patrol troopers spent the day investigating a deadly crash in Stoddard County, that claimed the lives of 15-year-old Nancy Avila and 16-year-old Austin Pounds.
It happened on Highway BB just south of Brownwood.

Police say the 15-year-old driver lost control. Moments later, another driver hit the side of her car.

Avila's parents say they realize their daughter made a huge mistake in getting behind the wheel.

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of teenage deaths in Missouri, and elsewhere.

Now the families of both victims hope other teens will learn from this tragedy.

From Advance to Bloomfield, flags flew at half staff Tuesday, as folks mourned the loss of the teens. Police say the pair died instantly Monday evening when Avila lost control of the car, and slammed into another vehicle in Stoddard County.

"I was so proud of him he was in his first high school baseball game," Austin's dad, Phil Pounds said as he struggled to hold back his tears.

"Austin got 100 on his driving test. I got 78 so my son did better than me; he was a cautious driver," Pounds said, holding up the pink Driver's Examination Pass he had found that belonged to his son at the crash site.
Nancy Avila's parents described her as "high on life" saying she moved to Southeast Missouri from California just three months ago.

Both families realize they may never know exactly what led to the crash Monday night, but hope other teens learn from this tragedy, and pay attention to police.

"The number one thing they lack is experience. When they make a mistake they don't know how to recover as well as an experienced driver might," Sgt. Larry Plunkett with the Missouri Highway Patrol said, speaking in general about teenage drivers.

Missouri is one of several states that has a graduated license program.

It requires young drivers to get some experience before actually driving by themselves.

P olice say teens should also enroll in a driver's education program if it's available to them.