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Two teenage girls were killed in a terrible accident on a rural Adams County road in Colorado when they ran a stop sign and crashed into a semitruck.

The accident might have been avoided, however, if the police officer who stopped their car just shortly before the wreck had taken the time to make sure that at least one of the girls had a driver’s license.

When the sheriff’s deputy originally pulled over the GMC truck the girls were in, the driver was the 18-year-old boyfriend of one of the girls. It turns out that the boyfriend had a bench warrant out for an unpaid speeding ticket, so the deputy arrested him and put him in the cruiser. He then transported the young man to the local jail and left the girls with the truck — instead of having it towed.

Apparently, the deputy assumed that at least one of the girls was licensed to drive and could get themselves home safely. Being neither licensed nor experienced, both girls likely missed the stop sign in the dark on the unlit rural road. The Colorado Department of Transportation has indicated that they are aiming to add lights to that particular stop sign to make it easier for drivers to see the intersection.

Accidents like these are the result of a combination of errors that could possibly have been avoided with a little better care. The surviving family member of the girls should probably investigate the potential liability of the sheriff’s department for leaving the girls in a situation in which they felt forced to drive without a license, leading to their wrongful death. There’s also always the possibility that the driver of the truck was speeding and might have avoided the accident as well.