Benton teen killed in reported "hill-jumping" accident
SALINE COUNTY (KATV) - An Alexander teen faces manslaughter charges after losing control of his vehicle in a reported "hill jumping" accident. The accident claimed the life of one of his friends and left another severely injured.
Tylor Wright, 18, died on impact when Charles Sadler, 18, drove his white Ford F-150 down a hill on Midland Road in Saline County early Monday morning at what detectives suspect to be excessive speeds, crashing the car into a tree. Wright's father, Aaron Wright, said despite wearing a seatbelt and an airbag deploying - nothing would have saved his son.
"He was a good kid, a real good kid - if he could help you he would," said Wright, fighting back tears when discussing his son.
Wright said his son was his best friend, but now his son is only but a memory.
According to a Saline County Sheriff's report, a witness to the crash who was originally in the car before the accident, told authorities that he knew Sadler was going to try and jump a hill due to them talking about it earlier in the day. The report goes on to say the friend started to beat on the truck window for Sadler to let him out of the vehicle - afterward the vehicle took off very quickly with Sadler, Wright and another teenager, Hannah Phillips, 17, in tow. The truck landed sideways, running through a ditch right into a tree.
"Nobody is indestructible," lamented Wright.
Just two years ago, Drew Melton, 17, was killed in a similar crash just two miles from where Wright lost his life.
Wright's father said "hill jumping" is pure thrill seeking, something many kids do, but this is different.
"I was a thrill seeker as a kid as far as, yes I drove fast," said Wright. "But hill-jumping was not something that I would have entertained."
Wright said he grew up watching the popular show "Dukes of Hazzard" which depicted characters doing stunts like "hill-jumping". He said today, kids are watching videos online as well, making kids think that something like "hill-jumping" is safe.
"There's stunt men, they have crews there in case something goes wrong - their cars are specially equipped for it," said Wright.
Now the grieving father hopes others learn from his tragedy.
"Make smart decisions," said Wright. "If you think it's dangerous - it is dangerous."
Visitation for Wright is at Dial & Dudley Funeral Home in Bryant from 6:00-8:00 PM on Wednesday. The funeral for Wright is at Sharon Baptist Church at 11:00 AM on Thursday. Wright said they'll bury his son at a cemetery right next to the family home.