Teenage mischief turns to tragedy

Madalyn Gracie Griffin

What started out as innocent teenage mischief ended in tragedy Jan. 21 with the death of a 14-year-old girl, Madalyn Gracie Griffin, known as Gracie to family and friends. 

According to Chief Rod Carroll of the Vidor Police Department (VPD), officers responded to Wexford Park near North Main, or Highway 105, in Vidor at 3:19 a.m. in reference to a one-vehicle accident. The first officer to the scene found a pick-up had left the roadway and struck a tree. The officer observed major damage to the passenger side of the vehicle, in which three juvenile females had been riding. Gracie had been ejected from the pickup truck during the accident. The responding officer attempted to render aid until Acadian Ambulance Service and Orange County ESD #1 arrived on-scene. Gracie was pronounced deceased at the scene by Justice of the Peace Rodney Price.

The other two occupants, both 13 years old, were transported to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital by Acadian Ambulance Service in serious condition. Their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening. The investigation is ongoing, reports Chief Carroll.

"It appears that speed was a factor in this tragedy," he stated in a news release. He also confirmed that the vehicle occupants were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident. 

Carroll told The Examiner the three teens are all from the Little Cypress-Mauriceville area. Prior to the fatal accident, the girls were having a sleepover when they took a grandparent's vehicle without permission.

"Kids make mistakes, but this one will have a lifetime of consequences," said Carroll. "Young people don't realize it, but a vehicle is a deadly weapon. They just think of it as transportation."

Carroll said Jan. 22 that Gracie's funeral arrangements are underway.