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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Seat belts save two UA students

    Two UA students returning from Mexico survived a rollover accident with no serious injuries yesterday because they were wearing seat belts, according to an Arizona Department of Public Safety news release.

    A third person in the car, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the back seat and died at the scene.

    UA students Tarek Touzi and Matthew Goodell were driving to Tucson at 12:30 a.m. on Interstate 19 with Goodell’s friend, Michael J. Brown, when the car veered to the right of the road.

    Touzi, the driver, overcorrected by jerking the steering wheel to the left, said James Oien, an Arizona Department of Public Safety information officer, in a news release.

    The 2003 Saturn hit the median and rolled, ejecting the unbelted passenger Brown from the car.

    Brown, a 19-year-old visiting from Grosse Pointe, Mich., died at the scene.

    Touzi, 20, and Goodell, 19, an undeclared sophomore, were both treated and released from University Medical Center after being transported there by helicopter. Both were wearing seat belts, which prevented serious injuries, the news release said.

    Touzi’s year and major are not listed in the UA phonebook.

    The group decided Sunday night to go to Nogales for the evening and were on their way back when the car rolled.

    Officials are investigating the collision, but driving fatigue is being considered a contributing factor. No citations have been issued at this point.

    Dallas Wilson, a Tucson Police Department officer, said Arizona law requires drivers and passengers to wear seat belts.

    Wilson said he couldn’t speculate whether the situation would have been different had Brown been restrained, but wearing a seat belt has been proven effective in preventing injuries, especially in rollover crashes.

    “”It was an unfortunate accident, and these things happen,”” Wilson said. “”But we do advise people to wear seat belts.””

    Phone calls made yesterday to Goodell and Touzi for additional information were not returned.

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