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Humboldt County, California — May 19, 2013

Officials say a teenager died and four other teenagers sustained non-life-threatening injuries after their vehicle struck a guardrail in Willow Creek Sunday afternoon.

According to California Highway Patrol, 19-year-old Cashkoa J. Rice was traveling in her 1989 Jeep Cherokee near the intersection of California State Route 299 and Titlow Hill Road when she became distracted by her cell phone around 4:15 p.m. and left the roadway. In trying to correct her vehicle, she crossed back over the roadway and struck a guardrail. The impact caused one of her passengers, 13-year-old Walter Moon from Hoopa Valley, to be thrown from the vehicle.

Walter was flown to Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, but later died from his injuries. At the time of the crash, Walter was riding in the rear of the sport-utility vehicle without a safety belt or seat.

Another passenger, 19-year-old Chandra Norton of Eureka, sustained non-life-threatening injuries. An unidentified 14-year-old, 15-year-old, and 16-year-old sustained minor injuries.

Ms. Rice was not hurt. It is unknown if she will be charged.

Officials are conducting an ongoing investigation to determine the cause of this incident.

Every day in the United States, an average of 4 children age 14 and younger were killed and 529 were injured in motor vehicle crashes during 2008 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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