Three Iowa City teenagers are hoping to honor a friend they lost in an accident by pushing for a change in state law. The girls lost their friend, 17-year-old Caroline Found, this past August. She died instantly when she crashed her moped after hitting a curb and a tree.
Found was not wearing a helmet. Her friends – Olivia Lofgren, Caroline Van Voorhis and Leah Murray – plan to push lawmakers to require all moped riders under 18 to wear a helmet.
Lofgren believes it’s something the friend they lost would have wanted. “This way we can at least honor her and honor her life while still trying to prevent anyone from going through the same thing we’ve gone through,” Lofgren said.
Iowa is one of only three states in the nation without helmet regulations. Van Voorhis said she can’t help but wonder – if state law forced Caroline to wear a helmet, would she have survived the crash? “There are so many what ifs, but that’s definitely a big what if. You know, what if she had been wearing a helmet? It could’ve prevented so much loss,” Van Voorhis said.
The girls are working with local legislators, Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City and Dave Jacoby of Coralville, to change Iowa law. They’ve also spoken to doctors and nurses at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City and Blank Hospital in Des Moines.
Murray believes, if young adults make a habit of wearing a helmet early, it could save their lives in the future. “Teenagers don’t always listen to their parents, but they’ll listen to the government and they’ll listen if they get a ticket, which is why this is so important,” Murray said.
To raise money for their cause, the three teens are selling key chains. They’re blue – Caroline’s favorite color – and have Caroline’s volleyball number 9 printed on the inside. The key chains are only $2. The girls will use the money to help take their message to the capitol, create pamphlets and get their voices heard.
by Jillian Petrus, KCRG-TV