An Oregon teen spent the start of the new year in jail after telling more than 600 Facebook friends he had hit a car while driving drunk on New Year’s Day, as Carol Kuruvilla writes in the New York Daily News. Police in Astoria, Oregon, arrested the 18-year-old Jacob Cox-Brown after he posted this update on Facebook: “Driving drunk… classic 🙂 but to whoever’s vehicle i hit i am sorry. :P”
Kuruvilla reports that police had already been investigating the hit and run when an officer received a private message about Cox-Brown’s post, and another friend called her later that day with the same information. Police found tell-tale signs of damage on the teen’s vehicle when they arrived at his home.
A police press release gives the following account:
On January 1, 2013 at 1:00 AM Officer Riley was called to respond to 1884 5th street for a hit and run crash. She responded and found that person(s) unknown had sideswiped a white colored Scion doing significant damage to the car. Officer Clausen, who was assisting, seized several peices of taillight and bumper cover. A second vehicle parked in front of this car had damage as well.
The press release says that the officers were able to match pieces left behind at the accident scene to Cox-Brown’s vehicle. Police arrested him and placed him in the Clatsop County Jail. He was charged with two counts of Failing to Perform the Duties of a Driver.
The police statement also says:
Astoria Police have an active Social Media presence. It was a private Facebook message to one of our officers that got this case moving though. When you post ‘Drivin drunk… classsic 😉 but to whoever’s vehicle i hit i am sorry. :P’ on Facebook you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long.
According to KWG.com, Deputy Chief Brad Johnston said Cox-Brown was not charged with drunken driving because the Facebook post is not sufficient evidence that he was intoxicated.
But at least one commenter on CNET has an idea for the police, as “contentcreator-2008” writes: “Through the wonders of social media, the police might have some excellent candidates who might be subpoenaed to testify under oath about the kid’s alcohol intake that night.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) writes that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20. “Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers,” NHTSA writes. Research shows that behaviors contributing to teen traffic accidents include driving too fast, drinking under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted driving (from cell phone use, other teen passengers, loud music), nighttime driving, and drowsy driving, the agency reports.
You can find information for teen drivers in Colorado here: http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/colorado-teen-drivers.