OSHA joins investigation into fatal crash

Saturday, July 31st 2004, 12:13 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have joined an investigation into employment practices at the state Democratic Party, Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau Wynn said.

Reneau Wynn, a Republican, launched the investigation after a July 8 car accident killed one teenage girl and injured another while the two were apparently working for the Democratic Party. Federal labor laws prohibit teens under 18 from operating a vehicle in connection with their work.

Dallas Horn, 16, was killed in the accident and Jackalyn Pearson, 16, was injured. Terry Lefterance, a spokesman for Horn's family, said the girls were working for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign, which has a shared office with U.S. Senate candidate Brad Carson.

``They were not required to drive for the position, parents gave them permission to drive so they could meet for lunch afterward,'' Lefterance said. Lefterance, who is also active in the Democratic Party, said he recruited the girls to work for the campaign.

Jack Pearson, Jackalyn Pearson's father, said his daughter worked 20 hours a week for $7 an hour and was paid by the Democratic Party. He said he did not realize how much his daughter would be driving as part of the job.

Pearson said he called Reneau Wynn's office ``not to launch an investigation, but because I had questions about the difference between a contract worker and an employee.''

``I'm not interesting in tearing down the Democratic Party, nor building it up,'' Pearson said.