Teens recovering from moped crash - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Teens recovering from moped crash

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Gabe asked that his face not be shown. He suffered facial injuries that left him swollen and bruised. Gabe asked that his face not be shown. He suffered facial injuries that left him swollen and bruised.
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JOHNSON COUNTY -

Two teenagers were seriously hurt in a moped crash over the weekend, prompting calls for change in the state's moped law.

Both 13-year-olds are still in the hospital, and one of the boys spoke with Eyewitness News Monday.

Gabe Gilliam's body is broken, but he's making remarkable progress after a collision he can't forget. On Saturday afternoon in Greenwood, the 13-year-old Center Grove North eighth grader jumped on the back of a moped with his 13-year-old buddy Jake Dodson.

The two had been riding all day. But at the intersection of Runyon Road and Driftwood Lane, a near head-on collision sent Gabe airborne over a stopped car waiting to turn. His friend Jake was trapped underneath the SUV that hit him and was dragged along several feet.

Witnesses say the 13-year-olds blew by a stop sign and gunned it as they headed into the intersection. They made it halfway through the intersection before the colliding with a vehicle, although Gabe disputes that account.

No matter which version investigators agree with, Indiana law says you must be 15 years old to drive a motorized bicycle or mopeds. Both Gabe and Jake are 13, but they did adhere to another part of the law: they were both wearing helmets.

13 Investigates has been investigating loopholes in Indiana law allowing unlicensed drivers to get on the road and into traffic with mopeds. Those loopholes allow both habitual offenders - some of them driving drunk - and under-aged teens driving with no real road experience.

State Representative Milo Smith says because the mopeds are not plated, registered or insured, the drivers are walking away from the crashes they cause, claiming ignorance.

"If we require them to be registered, then you know who owned it," Smith argues. "Then you go back to the owner and say, 'who are you allowing to drive this moped?'"

Smith also supports the idea of a hardship license, which would outline the requirements for the driver who lost his or her driving license over previous infractions.

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