YORKTOWN, Va. — House Bill 1918 in the General Assembly is aimed at making driving safer for teenagers and it comes at a tragic price.
A little more than a year ago, a car accident took the lives of three teenagers in York County on Big Bethel Road after a Tabb High School Homecoming dance. The three teens killed on that October 2019 night were Conner Guido, Logan Koontz, and Naile Tairov. All three were 16 years old.
Conner's mother said while it's too late to prevent that crash, it's not too late for others.
"My son was a junior, he was leaving the dance, hopped in the car with Naile, his friend Logan hopped in the back seat," said Tammy Guido while standing at the crash site, grasping her son's picture. "Less than a mile down the road, [they] lost control of the vehicle and flipped and killed all three instantly."
What Guido learned after the accident spurred her into action. The 16-year-old driver was unlicensed. State Troopers determined speed and inexperience contributed to the accident.
Guido has worked tirelessly to improve safety on that road by working with VDOT to install delineators and lighting. Now she's working with Delegate Martha Mugler to pass a bill that would create a uniform parking pass for high school students. It would be given out by their schools once a student produces a valid driver's license.
"What we want to do is give people empowerment and education," said Guido.
The bill also requires driver education programs to include instruction on the dangers of distracted driving and speeding.
"To include a curriculum module that will be directed at dangerous driving particularly the dangers of speeding," said Mugler who is impressed by Guido's tenacity to make a difference for others.
It has already passed unanimously in the House and heads to the Senate, where Senator Tommy Norment is sponsoring a similar bill.
Next week, Guido will meet with Congresswoman Elaine Luria to discuss the possibility of a bill on the federal level.
Since her son's death, Guido has given out thousands in scholarships to high school students in Conner's honor. He was a standout soccer player at Tabb and ran track. She has created the Conner Gweedo (as he liked to spell it) Memorial Foundation and the website, IfYouSeeSomethingSaySomething.org for anyone to anonymously report any concerning behavior related to teen driving.
"There's nothing I can do to bring Conner back but I can help other people and I need to make sure, his name rings throughout eternity," she said. "I want everyone to know who Conner Guido was. I want them to embody his spirit and know his passion for soccer and life and give back to the community and help other parents and kids from having to go through what we've been through."