The day after he got his driver’s license, a 16-year-old Tracy boy rolled a sport utility vehicle 200 feet down Lowell Avenue.
He was taken to Sutter Tracy Community Hospital immediately after the Thursday crash, but his injuries were minor, according to traffic officer Steve Bailey of the Tracy Police Department.
But the teen will be cited for crossing over a double yellow line and for excessive speed, which caused the Ford Expedition to tumble after the driver lost control, Bailey said. He added that the driver had just received his license the day before and that his inexperience in handling such a large vehicle was also a likely factor.
The crash happened just before 1 p.m., and smashed French fries and fast-food wrappers among the broken glass made it appear the teen was traveling from a restaurant on Grant Line Road to West High School. Bailey affirmed that the youth said he was on lunch break and worried that he would be late for class.
Bailey estimated the SUV was going eastbound at 45 mph or more in a 30-mph zone near Freiler Elementary School when the driver tried to pass a car in front of him. As he pulled around the car, he saw a westbound car headed toward him and abruptly pulled the SUV back into the eastbound lane, Bailey said.
Bailey said the driver apparently overcompensated, yanked the wheel to the right and put the SUV into a sideways skid. The SUV lost traction, rolled about 200 feet and lost its right-side wheels before it came to rest on a school crosswalk at Lowell Avenue and Laurelbrook Drive.
Nobody else was involved in the crash, and the driver of the car in front of the SUV stopped, then left after learning that the SUV driver was not seriously injured. Bailey said the two apparently are friends.
“We are wondering if it could have involved some kind of mischief,” Bailey said, though he didn’t think the two were racing.
Bailey said traffic officers regularly patrol that stretch of road, where intersections bear circular skid marks from drivers spinning their tires. Drivers of all ages are routinely clocked between 45 mph and 50 mph driving past Freiler School and around curves, he said.
“It’s not just high school students. It’s adults.”
To reach reporter Bob Brownne, call 830-4227 or e-mail email@example.com.