Lakeside-Marblehead resident Christian Maple, 17, and his passenger Maria Rodriguez, 18, of Norwalk, joined Ohio’s “Saved by the Belt” Club recently after their safety belts saved them from sustaining life-threatening injuries after a Ottawa County crash on the Edison Bridge on State Route 2 in January.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Brett W. Gockstetter, Sandusky Post commander, presented them with a “Saved by the Belt” certificate signed by Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Thomas J. Stickrath and Colonel Richard S. Fambro, Patrol superintendent.
“Christian and Maria are living testimonies to the effectiveness of safety belts,” Lieutenant Gockstetter said. “Everyone needs to buckle up every trip, every time.”
The teens’ vehicle was struck head-on by a wrong-way driver. While they were severely injured, wearing seat belts had been instrumental in saving their lives.
Provisional data from 2019 shows 457 people in Ohio were killed in traffic crashes where a safety belt was available, but not in use.
The “Saved by the Belt” Club is a joint effort by the Ohio Department of Public Safety and more than 400 Ohio law enforcement agencies. This club is designed to recognize people who have benefited from their decision to wear safety belts.
They also received a “Saved by the Belt” license plate bracket.