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Seatbelt Defiance Kills College Senior


Derek Kieper-what a waste of a young life! Derek Kieper was a 4.0 GPA Senior carrying five majors in economics, history, sociology, psychology, and political science when he died after a Ford Explorer, in which he was a passenger, rolled several times ejecting him from the car in January 2005. Two other young men in the car, the driver and the front seat passenger, were wearing their seatbelts and they escaped with non-life threatening injuries.

Interestingly, Derek was not only a columnist for the Daily Nebraskan, but he defied the government’s intrusion into what he called his individual personal freedoms when he wrote in one of his columns a year before his death that, “…if I want to be the jerk that flirts with death and rides around with my seatbelt off, I should be able to do that..”

Derek also railed against the Click-it or Ticket campaign to promote the new seat belt laws, scoffing at the fact that those commercials threatened that officer Joe Friendly would be pulling them over for a ticket if they didn’t adhere to wearing their seat belts.

According to the CDC Injury Prevention Center more than half of the people who died in car crashes in 2005 were not wearing their seat belts.

In another one of Derek’s columns, he wistfully remarked, “The reasons gaps aren’t bridged is because you silence people like me.” I don’t think so Derek, you silenced yourself. And, what a shame! As a history major you should have known that we must know our history if we do not want it repeated. You might be alive today if you had just worn your seatbelt.

Derek was planning to go to law school in the fall.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident or SUV Rollover, please contact Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys at 800-259-6373, for your free consultation.

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