Wednesday, 30 June 2021 15:37

UNCP students credit seat belts for surviving crash

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Chandolyn Todd (left) and Glorimar Cruz-Pagan pose on campus at UNC-Pembroke today. They recently received 'Saved by the Belt' certificates. Chandolyn Todd (left) and Glorimar Cruz-Pagan pose on campus at UNC-Pembroke today. They recently received 'Saved by the Belt' certificates. NCDOT

BLADENBORO — In February, Chandolyn Todd and Glorimar Cruz-Pagan— students at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke — were driving in rural Bladen County when another vehicle ran a stop sign, forcing Todd to veer off the roadway and plunge into a ditch.


Although their Camaro was a total loss, Todd and Cruz-Pagan walked away with only minor injuries, and they credit their seat belts.

“Before my accident, wearing a seat belt was always something I did without question,” said the vehicle’s driver Todd, a Bladenboro resident who will be a senior at UNC-Pembroke.

Todd and Cruz-Pagan, who graduated from the university in May, credit the use of their seat belts for preventing serious bodily harm.

“Looking back now after my accident, I see and understand the importance of wearing a seat belt in a brand-new light,” Todd said. “I am even more grateful that I wore my seatbelt because it undoubtedly saved me from further injury.”

Traveling picks up in the summertime, and it also marks the 100 deadliest days for most teenager drivers. Buckling up is one of the simplest ways to reduce the risk of serious injury or death in car crash.

Statewide, almost half of all traffic fatalities involve drivers or passengers not wearing seat belts or being properly placed in child safety seats.  

Bladen County Sheriff James A. McVicker reminds people that seat belts are required for every passenger in the vehicle, including child seats.

He asks “all motorists to practice the Golden Rule when driving. Be courteous and tolerant of other drivers and remember to always wear your seat belt. Every seat. Every time.”

Mark Ezzell, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program, recently presented Todd and Cruz-Pagan with ‘Saved by the Belt’ certificates for sharing their story. 

“Whether the crashes are on a country road or in the big city, being unbelted is a driving behavior that has to change,” said Ezzell. “Changing driver behavior by buckling up will improve overall traffic safety and reduce fatal crashes.”

Share your “Saved by the Belt” stories to raise awareness and follow us @NCGHSP on Facebook and @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram. For more information, visit www.ncghsp.org.

(Editor's Note: The NCDOT corrected the name of the county where the wreck occurred.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 June 2021 17:52