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Victim’s Family Say Teen Driver Should Be Made Example

March 16, 2007

My24 7 News

The family of a 17-year-old girl who was killed in a suspected drunk driving accident said the teen driver who allegedly caused the crash should pay for taking their young, bright, beautiful daughter.

Samara Stricklen died Tuesday night and five other teens were injured, including the 16-year-old driver of the sport utility vehicle that slammed into Stricklen.

The crash occurred near Alameda and Florida, about a half-mile from Green Mountain High School, where the driver is a student. The victim also had been a student there, but had transferred to Bear Creek High School earlier this school year.

The 16-year-old driver was at a detention hearing Thursday and is being held on $10,000 bond. She could face a charge of vehicular homicide.

Stricklen’s family was also at the hearing. They said they want the case to set an example.”They have to remember what they’ve done the rest of their lives — no matter where they are,” said Bill Stricklen, Samara’s father.

He and his wife are hearing impaired so both spoke through a relative. They said they miss their daughter so much that they just don’t want other families to experience the same tragedy.

“She’s very creative. She can draw anything, paint anything,” said Bill Stricklen.

“She wanted to be a marine biologist, because she was very concerned about ecology and she wanted to protect the environment and the animals,” said Michelle Stricklen, Samara’s mother.

Samara’s parents can’t help but smile when they talk about her. They said they last spoke with her Tuesday night when she told them she was going to the movies.”And she says, ‘I love you. I’m going with a friend, Daddy,'” Bill Stricklen said.

A few hours later, a 16-year-old girl who is suspected of drinking and driving slammed head-on into the car that was being driven by Samara’s friend, Seth Mutschler.

Samara died at the hospital. Mutschler is still in critical condition.

“Our daughter did not deserve to die like this,” said Michelle Stricklen.

“I still can’t believe she’s gone. I just want to see her and tell her I love her, one more time,” Bill Stricklen said.

The 16-year-old driver will be back in court on Tuesday, when she finds out what charges she faces. On Thursday, the girl’s family was also in court but they shielded their faces and did not wish to speak to the media.

A student at Green Mountain High School told 7NEWS that she saw the 16-year-old driver and the other students in that SUV after school on Tuesday. Jennifer Randle said she walked over to their SUV to say hello and noticed that they had been drinking.

“I saw a 30-pack in the trunk. With that, I smelled the alcohol on their breaths. And I wish I would have done something,” Randle said.

Investigators are looking into whether an adult supplied the teens alcohol and if so, that person may also face a charge in this case.

  1. September 4, 2007 at 8:20 am

    Cannot beleive that! The 16-year-old driver is one of responsible for her actions for killed Samara and Seth’s injuries are serious.

    The 16-year-old driver are now serious with the law!

    Randle should have call police or parents to call for her instead of allowing her friend to drive. It is not being responisible??? Randle failed for not let the Police department aware of that.

    Poor the daughter’s deaf parent lost their very special daughter only.


  2. Lisa Marie
    September 4, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    I remember that I saw the news on T.V. and I know her parents. It’s heartbreaking.

    Several months later, my other deaf friend’s daughter was in an auto accident, they had to fly over to Florida to be with her at the hospital. Heard that their daughter is with them at home now.

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