Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Party in a box"? What irresponsible marketeers!

OK, check out this link:

Then check out this link (text below in case the link dies):,0,5584278.story

There is a growing realization that young men behind the wheel of a car are a particularly high-risk group for driving accidents. Gee, what a surprise. Testosterone coursing their veins like never before, advertisements shouting at them every way they turn about the sexiness of alcholol, the excitement of the "fast life"....of course teen drivers will be a menace to themselves and others.

States are now even passing laws restricting the number of teens allowed in cars when a teen is driving. Good idea, though how much any young buck will pay attention to this is another matter.

So given that state of affairs, I am outraged and appalled to find that Toyota and their super-hip Scion line are promoting one of their vehicles as a "party in a box."

I hope they catch lots of flak for this, publicly state their apology, and urge sensible driving.

Cars are not toys and they are not a good place for parties. In fact, I think Scion should drop their whole marketing line which is all about promoting their cars and things in which to strut and demonstrate one's superior coolness. Bad news all around.

Four teenagers killed in Oswego accident
By Jeff Long, Jack McCarthy and Andrew L. Wang
Chicago Tribune
Published February 12, 2007, 12:04 AM CST

Four white crosses jutted from snow-covered ground along a road in Oswego, each bearing the name of a teenager killed there early Sunday in the crash of a car filled with nine young people.

Andrew Allseitz, 15, visited the makeshift memorial by Illinois Highway 31 to pay respects to the girl who last week had asked him to her high school's "turnabout" dance. Jessica Nutoni, 15, never got to give her date the gifts she had bought: a chocolate heart, a teddy bear and a Valentine's Day card.

Allseitz received the gifts Sunday morning through Nutoni's family, said his older brother Matt, "but he hasn't been able to open the card yet."

On a cold, gray Sunday, dozens of teens—eyes full of tears, hearts heavy with grief—stopped to stand vigil before the crosses, one of which was affixed with the photocopied text of the 23rd Psalm.

Meanwhile, authorities charged the car's driver, Sandra Vasquez, 24, of Aurora, with drunken driving in connection with the crash, which claimed the lives of four Oswego High School students and left five people, including Vasquez, severely injured.

The crash made the weekend the third one in a row in the Chicago area in which multiple teenagers have died in violent auto accidents. On Feb. 4, three male teens were killed and another injured on Chicago's West Side when their speeding rental car slammed into an elevated train support. Six teens died the previous weekend in separate accidents in Riverside and Blue Island.

Oswego police said the 2001 Infiniti sedan with nine people inside was headed south on Illinois 31 at 2:20 a.m. As the car approached River Run Boulevard, it went out of control, veered across the northbound lane and struck a pole on the east side of the road, police said.

The four teenagers killed were all pronounced dead at the scene. In addition to Nutoni, they were identified as Katherine Merkel, 14, Tiffany Urso, 16, and Matthew Frank, 17, said Kendall County Deputy Coroner Jacquie Marcellis.

Autopsies were not conducted because the cause of death—ruled multiple blunt force trauma—was apparent, she added.

Police did not release Vasquez's blood-alcohol level, though she was tested "and the results were high enough to charge her," said Oswego police Detective Rob Sherwood.

He said the drunken-driving charge is a misdemeanor, but the Kendall County state's attorney's office is investigating the accident to determine if felony charges are warranted.

Vasquez and four other Oswego High students ranging in age from 14 to 16 were taken to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove or Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, police said.

Vasquez's father, Jesus, said he felt "real bad for the families" of the teens involved in the crash.

He said he did not know where his daughter was headed Sunday morning or why she was with the teenagers.

"As far I know, she was just giving them a ride home," he said, standing in the doorway of his Aurora home. He said his daughter graduated from East Aurora High School and worked as an aide at a nursing home.

He said he spent most of the day in the hospital with his daughter but on doctors' orders did not talk to her about the crash.

"They said ... she is going to make it," her father said, but "they don't know about internal injuries."

Authorities said Sunday that the accident was still under investigation. Still unclear was whether any of the occupants were wearing seat belts.

"With nine kids there could have been only five that were wearing seat belts," Sherwood said.

Police said the car's passenger side struck the pole first, and the impact caused temporary power outages in the area.

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