The parents of the teenage driver in the Sarpy County accident that killed 15-year-old Nate LaFave released a statement Friday making the point that the collision was simply an accident.
Scott and Tifany Shely, the parents of 16-year-old Madeline Shely, said the Oct. 11 accident at 180th Street and Highway 370 was “an instance of an inexperienced driver trying to negotiate an intersection near rush hour that the State of Nebraska has deemed dangerous and in need of additional precautions.”
The Shelys said the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office determined their daughter wasn't texting, using her cell phone, speeding or using alcohol or drugs prior to the accident. “Simply put,” the statement said, “this was an accident.”
Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov last week filed a motor vehicle homicide petition in juvenile court against Shely, saying his job is to represent the state. Shely also will answer allegations in juvenile court of violating a stop sign and her provisional driver's license.
The Shelys said they respect the court process and “hope for its quick conclusion for the sake of all involved.”
The couple also thanked people for support, noting they believe their daughter and passenger Carly Anne Kelly survived the accident “because of the power of prayer.”
The Nebraska Department of Roads said this week that a traffic signal will be installed at 180th Street and Highway 370. While a recent traffic study didn't conclude that a signal was warranted, it was close to meeting the necessary criteria and is scheduled for installation during the Roads Department's 2015 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2014.