The last thing a caring parent or guardian would ever think of doing with kids in the car is drag racing. But that’s exactly what Jarrod Andrews, 26, did — racing on Interstate 25 in Erie, Colorado, earlier this month, traveling at a speed of over 120 miles per hour in his Ford Mustang.
Even worse, the dangerous driver was carrying precious cargo while he played Speed Racer behind the wheel.
He had a 7-month-old baby and a 5-year-old child in the car, according to the Weld County sheriff’s office.
The deputy who stopped Andrews said the 5-year-old child was not in a car seat or even wearing a seat belt — and the infant was in a forward-facing car seat and was not facing backwards as the law requires.
So two kids were bouncing around in a car while Andrews drove like a hot-rodder straight out of a ‘Fast and Furious’ movie, in a supreme display of criminal carelessness. It is cringe-worthy to think of how scared those tots must have been. That’s abuse, plain and simple.
Andrews was charged with two counts of child abuse, as well as four counts of reckless endangerment and failure to use child restraints, among other charges. Andrews had at least three prior speeding violations.
A deputy reported seeing a red Ford Mustang and another vehicle going over 100 mph in the northbound lanes on April 9, according to thedenverchannel.com.
“It’s a very scary situation — at those speeds who knows what could’ve happened if there was an accident,” said Cpl. Matt Turner with the Weld County sheriff’s office. Andrews is already out on bond.
“Please remember that all children under the ages of one year old or under 20 lbs. must be restrained in a rear-facing child restraint system in the rear of the vehicle,” the sheriff’s office reminded the public after the frightening event. “All children under the age of 8 years old must be in a proper child restraint system while riding in a motor vehicle.”
There’s More, Alas
Across the country from Colorado and just days earlier, Mary Pasciucco peered out from her window of her Back Bay apartment in Boston. She saw a man run from a silver Bentley, cross the street and jump into a BMW at the corner, according to The Boston Globe. The car sped toward the always-busy Storrow Drive, a major Boston thoroughfare.
Pasciucco said she could see what appeared to be the legs of a man near the Bentley. The man had been hit after the vehicle jumped the curb, bashed a fence in front of an apartment building, and then hit a tree, according to the Globe.
“It was horrific,” said Pasciucco. She called 911, she told the Globe.
The man was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, police later confirmed.
Pasciucco said she saw the driver of the Bentley glance at the injured pedestrian before fleeing the scene. Several people came to the man’s aid while awaiting paramedics. Residents told the Globe that drivers often use that stretch of Beacon Street to drag race, timing green lights and endangering both motorists and pedestrians.
“To be drag racing down a residential street … There are a lot of families and children in the neighborhood,” Pasciusso told the Globe. She has lived on Beacon Street for over 20 years. “I don’t know if they could police it better or what the solution is.”
One in five parents of young children admits to “bending the rules” when carpooling.
As for Saturday’s crash, Boston police spokeswoman Rachel McGuire said, “These guys were drag racing and that’s a blatant disregard for traffic laws.”
Most parents don’t drag race, of course — but what about breaking other rules?
One in five parents of young children admits to “bending the rules” when carpooling, letting children ride without car seats, booster seats, and sometimes even seat belts, a 2014 report by Safe Kids Worldwide found.
Even more startling, three times as many parents — a whopping 61 percent — said they had seen other carpooling parents “bending the rules,” according to the Safe Kids Worldwide report. The report was funded by the General Motors Foundation and was based on an online survey of 1,000 parents of children ages 4 to 10.
“I am still haunted by a drive back from the beach where I let three of my own kids ride without seat belts on the highway because we drove extra kids home and as every parent knows, you buckle another person’s kids before your own,” said one Massachusetts mom of four. “But what does that say about the lives of your own kids? Today, I wouldn’t do that.”
We should all be uncompromising when it comes to the safety of our kids, said Safe Kids Worldwide president and CEO Kate Carr. She told NBC News that 1 in 4 parents admits to failing to buckle kids in for every ride.
“A lot of people will say it’s because it’s a short ride or ‘the child’s alone with me in the car,'” Carr said. “You don’t start your day planning to have an accident. You never know when it’s going to happen. So make sure you’re secured and that everyone in the car is safely secured.”