Missouri Highway Patrol Seeks Information Regarding Fatal Hit & Run Accident: Willard Teen Killed

April 9, 2012,

1028507_dark_skies_ii.jpgThe Missouri Highway Patrol is asking for the public's assistance regarding a tragic hit and run accident that killed 18 year-old Steeler Seaburn last Thursday night. Seaburn, a senior at Willard High School, was found lying on Farm Road 94 near Stick Horse Lane, and pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Patrol, an unknown vehicle was traveling north when it struck Seaburn, who was walking along the road. The accident occurred sometime between 11:30 p.m. Thursday and 2:30 a.m. Friday.

It is not known why Seaburn was walking on Farm Road 94: his car was found nearby with the flashers on and the driver's side door open. Initially, police believed that his vehicle had broken down, but it was found to be operational. Sgt. Jason Pace of the Missouri Highway Patrol says troopers are currently looking for anyone who might have seen anything near the accident scene: if you have any information, you can contact the Patrol at (417) 895-6868.

Seaburn was an active, popular student: he was a starting defensive back/ wide receiver for the Willard High School football team and an all-state wrestler. His wrestling coach, Kiiler Stephens, says that Seaburn was an exemplary athlete and team leader who always made people laugh. "He was the funniest human I've ever met," Stephens told the Springfield News Leader. "The kids loved him. He always had a smile at whatever he was doing."

The Willard School District was closed on Friday and remains closed today for the Easter holiday, but that didn't stop students from coming to campus to honor Seaburn, according to Willard Athletic Director Jeff Staley. "Steeler was an incredible young man who will never be forgotten. In these situations, kids rally around each other better than adults do sometimes," Staley said.

Why Do Drivers Hit and Run?

According to deadlyroads.com, a website designed to pay tribute to the victims of hit and run drivers, the most common motives for hit and run offenses can be summarized by using the acronym DUSA:

D: Driving impaired (drinking, drugs, drowsy, distracted)
U: Unlicensed driver or vehicle (license suspended or revoked; uninsured vehicle; immigration status)
S: Self-preservation (secret to protect: scared, stolen vehicle, street racing, status to protect)
A: Aggressive driver (road rage); age (immaturity); amorality

Approximately 12% of all crash fatalities are pedestrian victims: in 2009, 4,092 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 1 in 5 of these pedestrian fatalities is caused by a hit and run driver. In Missouri, leaving the scene of an injury accident is a felony offense.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says "the best way to avoid being a hit and run victim is to be an alert pedestrian." In that spirit, they offer the following safety tips:

• When crossing any roadway - even in a crosswalk - be sure to look right, then left, then right again. Be on the lookout for turning vehicles.

• Pay attention to any vehicles that approach or pass you. Never assume that a driver sees you.

• Use sidewalks when possible. In the absence of a sidewalk, walk as far away from the road as possible.

• If you plan to walk at night, wear light-colored clothing and use reflectors.

Information provided courtesy of Aaron Sachs and Associates.

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