HENRY COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — A Magna Vista High School student lost his life Monday night after he fell onto the road from the back of a pickup truck.
Virginia State Police tell WFXR News the incident happened at approximately 10:20 p.m. on Monday, April 25 along Route 683, about a tenth of a mile north of Route 859 in Henry County.
According to authorities, 18-year-old Trinity L. Davis of Martinsville, was driving a 2001 Dodge Dakota with two male high school students in the bed of the pickup truck.
Then, one of the boys — identified by police as 18-year-old Logan Smith of Martinsville — fell from the truck and died at the scene.
Virginia State Police say the other high school student riding in the back of the vehicle — identified only as an underage boy — was not injured in the incident, which is still under investigation.
Henry County Public Schools’ director of communications, Monica Hatchett, issued the following statement to WFXR News following Smith’s death:
We were deeply saddened to learn of Logan Smith’s passing and are working to support Magna Vista students and staff as they remember him. We appreciate the community’s thoughts for the Warrior community in the days ahead.Monica Hatchett, director of communications for Henry County Public Schools
Hatchett says counselors from both Henry County Public Schools and Piedmont Community Services were available at Magna Vista High on Tuesday, April 26 and as needed throughout the week.
She also tells WFXR News that the school district is working diligently to talk about vehicle safety in their driver’s education program.
According to the Code of Virginia, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to ride in the rear cargo area of any pickup truck in the Commonwealth unless the truck is being used for an organized parade, or going on or across a highway from one parcel of land to another for farming operations.
The director of DRIVE SMART Virginia, Kristin Pettway, says that riding in the back of a pickup truck is dangerous because there are no seatbelts and if anything happens, there is nothing to protect you.
Pettway says many young drivers are easily distracted, especially by their peers, which also poses potential problems.
“So, when they’re driving with their friends in the vehicle, they’re being distracted, and also obviously by phones, whether that’s social media apps like TikToks or Snapchats, or just playing with their music,” said Pettway.
Pettway adds that DRIVE SMART has a distracted/impaired driving simulator that allows young drivers to go through distracting scenarios.
She says many young drivers have a false sense of security, so it is important they learn valuable driving skills from their parents, as well as experience all possible types of driving situations.
This marks at least the second deadly incident of the school year involving students from Magna Vista High School.
Shortly after 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 4, 2021, state troopers were called out to a crash involving four Magna Vista High students in the 5100 block of Soapstone Road. One of those students — a 17-year-old senior named Nick Pruitt — died from his injuries while the other three minors were airlifted to a nearby hospital.