(WTVM) - When the 2000 Dodge truck driven by Deontae Gillis hit a tree off County Road 18 south of Phenix City, the fiery crash that resulted killed his two passengers: Janika Rogers who was 17, and Asija Johnson who was 16. Both young women were Russell County High School students.
As the tragedy unfolded in real time, several good Samaritans stopped to offer help and frantically tried to get the crash victims to safety.
Dennell Fairley was one of those selfless motorists who tried in vain to rescue Janika and Asija.
We applaud Dennell's courage and the efforts of all the good Samaritans who worked to help free the young women.
Although they did not succeed, they did all they could to deal with an impossible situation.
Mourners have been leaving remembrances at the scene of the crash to share their grief.
Alabama State Troopers investigating the deaths are working to learn all the details of how the crash happened.
People who travel that stretch of road say it's very dangerous. Just a year ago another teenager lost her life not far away.
No matter what the reasons are for the crash, it's always worth reminding young drivers to make sure their speed matches driving conditions.
For younger or less experienced drivers, slowing down is always good defensive driving.
It's the one precaution we can all take to avoid the chances that we might someday need a Good Samaritan to be there for us.
General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:
WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906