Wreck Proves Fatal

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A tragic accident on Russell-Topton Road Monday claimed the life of the driver and seriously injured a passenger.

Heather Eggleston died of her injuries Tuesday morning. Her twin sister, Ashley, remains in the hospital with serious injuries. Both 15-year-olds were wearing seatbelts.

"Seatbelts were unable to help the driver," said Maj. Ward Calhoun of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department. "(They) may have helped the passenger not being injured any more than she was. The roads were wet at the time. We do believe that that is a factor in this particular accident."

Officials say drivers should always take extra precaution, wet roads or not.

"Quite often, after it stops raining, people tend to forget that the roadways are still wet. They're just as dangerous then, as they are when it's raining," said Calhoun.

According to the National Safety Council, steps can be taken to reduce the chance for skids.

  • Drive slowly and carefully.
  • Steer and brake with a light touch.
  • Do not brake hard or lock wheels.
  • To avoid hydroplaning, keep your tires properly inflated.
  • Maintain good tread on your tires.
  • Slow down when roads are wet.
  • Try to drive in the tracks left by the cars in front of you.

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Seat Belt Tips

  • A safety belt can only protect you if it is used -- and used properly.

  • Provide enough safety belts for each person traveling in your vehicle. Each person needs his or her own safety belt. Make sure all safety belts are working properly.

  • Ask passengers in the front and rear seats to use their safety belts. Most people will gladly buckle up if the driver asks them to.

  • Do not start your car until all safety belts are fastened.

  • Adjust your safety belt so it fits snugly over your hip bones. It should cross your lap low on the hips, not high across your stomach.

  • A shoulder belt should go over your shoulder and across your body diagonally. It should never be worn under your arm.

Child Restraint Laws

  • Children under the age of four years must be secured in an approved child restraint system, more commonly called a child safety seat.

  • Four and five year-olds must be secured either in a safety seat or by a safety belt.

  • A person or legal guardian of a child under the age of four years is responsible for providing a child safety seat to anyone who transports his or her child.

  • A person who transports another's child under four years of age does not violate the law if the parent or legal guardian fails to provide a child safety seat and none is used.

  • A child with a physical disability, which prevents the use of standard safety seats, is exempt from the provisions of the law if the handicap is duly certified by a physician. A blanket exemption is also granted in case of medical emergency.


  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 100 percent correct use of child safety seats could have prevented nearly 500 deaths and about 56,000 serious injuries to children in the United States in just one year alone.

Source: www.state.il.us/isp/ (Illinois State Police Web site) contributed to this report.