Medical Examiner
4505 Alberta Avenue
El Paso, Texas 79905
Phone (915) 532-1447
Fax (915) 532-6630
isantiago@epcounty.com

Office of the Medical Examiner & Forensic Laboratory

  • Seat Belts save lives
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  • Dr. Corinne E. Stern gets frustrated every time she has to perform an autopsy on a car accident victim who was not wearing a seat belt.
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  • "The hardest part of my job is sitting across a table and telling a parent that YES, their son or daughter would be alive today if they had been wearing a seat belt," El Paso County's Medical Examiner said. "The majority of those victims were thrown from the vehicle upon impact. They would have survived if they had been wearing a seat belt."
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  • In an effort to prevent any more traffic deaths, Stern is joining the state's campaign of "Click It or Ticket," by embarking on a campaign of her own to convince people that seat belts save lives. So far this year, El Paso's County traffic death rate has broken all records, with 52 fatalities from January to May 31, she said. That does not include the six who have lost their lives on County streets since June 1.
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  • Of those 52 fatalities, 43 are related to passenger vehicle and tractor trailer accidents, she said. And of those 43, 66% were not wearing a seat belt.
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  • "I get to see these fatalities up close, and it's sad, very sad," Stern said. "The youngest victim I've seen who was not wearing a seat belt was three years old. Both the mother and child died. The oldest was 86."
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  • Stern sees them all, traffic deaths from Anthony to Fabens, plus the visitors from Juárez and out of town. What can she say and do to convince people to wear their seat belts? Stern is willing to try everything, even meeting people face-to-face and describing to them in detail what can happen when a victim is thrown from a moving vehicle.
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  • Her program includes talking to people, particularly young people in schools, offices, churches and civic organizations, convincing them that it's cool to wear a seat belt. It's not cool to die before your time. She wants every adult and every parent to buckle up and to wait until every passenger in the vehicle has a seat belt on before taking off. She wants U.S. Immigration and Customs officers to urge people crossing any of the international bridges to buckle up, and for the police to be on hand to ticket them if they don't.
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  • "This is one campaign where I would like everybody in El Paso County to help with and cooperate," she said. "Too many people have already died on our streets needlessly."