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Dear President Biden: Motor vehicle safety must be an infrastructure priority

Delaware News Journal

Dear President Biden:

Like you, we are families who have suffered the death or injury of a child, spouse or loved one because of a car or truck crash, hot car incident or seatback failure. And, like you we are committed to saving others from experiencing our profound loss.  Affordable technological solutions to stop these senseless deaths and injuries should be available to everyone regardless of where you live or your income level.

As Congress moves toward passage of one of your key priorities — transportation and infrastructure legislation — we urge you to ensure that critical vehicle safety remedies are included in the bill you sign into law.

President Joe Biden in cemetery

President-elect, Joe Biden, left, visits the cemetery where his son Beau, his wife Neilia, and his daughter Naomi are buried at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Wilmington, Delaware. At right is a member of the secret service keeping watch. Carolyn Kaster / AP

The U.S. House of Representatives has already adopted, with bipartisan support, an essential and overdue safety roadmap in H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act. A few of the important safety advances include inexpensive requirements for most new vehicles to be equipped with automatic emergency braking, impaired driving prevention technology, stronger seatbacks that will not collapse and injure rear seat occupants in a crash, and detection and alert systems to put an end to tragic heatstroke deaths for children and others inadvertently left alone in cars.

Children in car seats
Target will accept infant seats, convertible seats, car seat bases, harness or booster car seats and car seats that are expired or damaged during it's car seat trade-in event. 

We also need your help in improving the final bill by opposing special interest efforts to weaken safety proposals. For example, safety technologies like AEB should be in all cars and all trucks with no exceptions for industry loopholes.  And, proposals to allow teen truckers to operate big rigs across state lines should be summarily rejected. 

Your compassion and leadership are needed now more than ever. During the five-year time span of the bill, it is expected that approximately 183,000 people will be killed and nearly 14 million more injured at a comprehensive cost exceeding $5 trillion. Without action on these improvements, families will pay with their lives and their wallets. 


Nicole Acquisto, Rochester, New York

My friend's 22-year-old son was a pedestrian hit crossing the street by an off-duty NYPD officer driving recklessly.

Megan and Campbell Aurelius, League City, Texas

Megan is the mother of Lily Kate Guerra, who died at only 5 months old in a hot car in 2013 when her father left her in his personal truck all day while he worked.

Raelyn Balfour, Earlysville, Virginia

I am the mother of Bryce Balfour who was 9 months old when I unknowingly left him in my vehicle and went to work. I received an emergency phone call from work on my way to drop him off at daycare and lost awareness that he was with me. I made a promise to my son that day that I would do everything in my power to make sure this never happens to another child.  

Lisa and Shannon Berry, Huntsville, Alabama

We are the parents of Lexi, who died at age 2 in August 2018. After a change in their daycare drop-off routine, Lexi's father unknowingly left Lexi in his car all day while he worked. Despite their safety plan of putting the diaper bag in the front seat every day, Lexi was still left behind as the diaper bag was placed in the back seat for the first and only time that day. 

Pamela Biddle, Board Member, CRASH and Truck Safety Coalition, Georgia

In 2017, Pamela’s 23-year-old son, Aaron Lee, his father, Brian Lee, and Brian’s partner, Stephanie Swaim, were killed when they were stopped in interstate highway traffic caused by a semi with a wheel fire and hit from behind by another semi which failed to slow.  The semi driver also perished. 

Deona Bien, Tucson, Arizona

I am the mother of Aslyn Ryan, age 1,who died after being inadvertently left in a hot car by her sitter in Honolulu in 2004.

Delyla and Clay Blackburn, Shreveport, Louisiana

We are parents of 6-month-old Addyson who died after her father’s routine was disrupted with a dentist appointment. Clay was supposed to take Addyson from her mother’s work to daycare, but he missed the daycare stop and went to work all day. After work, he went into the daycare to pick her up only to realize that she had never been dropped off.

Brittany Borgess, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

I am stepmother of Samaria Motyka, 4, who died inside my car after I unknowingly left her there. I dropped off two of our other children at their daycare facilities and missed the third drop off. I didn’t know she never made it to daycare until I found her in my car after work. She got out of her car seat but wasn’t able to get out of the car.

Rita Barravecchio, Whitestone, New York

My 17-year-old niece was killed by a reckless driver.

Kyle and Beth Brown, Chandler, Arizona

We are parents of Amberlee, who died at 3-months-old after her father unknowingly left her in his car.

Karen Chin, New York, New York

I was hit by a car failing to yield when making a left turn. I was on a bike and broke my right ankle.

Dr. Norman L. Collins Sr., Raleigh, North Carolina, and Norman Collins II, Jackson, Mississippi

We are the family of Norman Collins III, affectionately known as Bishop, who died in a hot car. His death was the result of a miscommunication between his father and a fellow church member about who was getting 3-month-old Bishop out of the car and into church.

Todd and Melody Costello, Medina, Ohio

We are the parents of Tyler who died at 9-months-old in a hot car. Todd didn’t normally take Tyler to daycare and was out of his normal routine when he missed daycare drop-off and went to work all day in July 2002.

Donna Counts, Tupelo, Mississippi

I am the mother of Daniel Hamrick who died at only 8-months-old in a hot car in 2003 after his father dropped the oldest child off at daycare and unknowingly left Daniel in the car all day. 

Roy Crawford, Kentucky

Roy’s son, Guy Champ Crawford, was killed in 1994 by an overloaded coal truck that had poor conspicuity and no underride guards.  Roy is a retired forensic engineer who has reconstructed many fatal truck crashes.

Karey Ann Dawidowicz, Denton, Maryland

Exhausted aftert nursing, I went into a grocery store and forgot my 3-month-old daughter, who was in the rear-facing car seat in the back seat. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I ran out of the store and ran to my car. She was OK, but the fact remains that it can happen to anybody, even loving caring parents. It happened to me. 

Susan DeLettera, Marietta, Georgia

An off-duty police officer, aggressively driving around another car, killed my nephew who was in the crosswalk.

Catherine DeSalvo, New Jersey

Catherine’s husband, Jim, was killed while riding his bike in 2019 after he was struck by a tire that came loose from an overweight, unmaintained dump truck. 

Dr. Andrew and Jamie Dill, Evansville, Indiana

We are the parents of Oliver “Ollie” Dill, 3, who died in a hot car on July 9, 2019. Dr. Dill tragically missed daycare drop off and went to work where he is a professor at University of Southern Indiana.

Yan Du and Sheng Li, San Antonio, Texas

We  are the parents of Claire who died at only 11 months old in a hot car in 2017 after her father unknowingly left her in his car all day while he worked.

Amie Duemer, Lubbock, Texas

I am the mother of Josef, who died at only 1 in a hot car in 2005.  I unknowingly left him in my car all day while at work. 

Stephanie Duncan, Volunteer, Truck Safety Coalition, Michigan

Stephanie’s parents were killed while waiting in stalled highway traffic after they were struck from behind by an asphalt tanker truck whose driver is suspected to have fallen asleep and cannot recall what happened.

Jodie Edwards, Liberty Township, Ohio

I left my 11-month-old daughter, Jenna, in a hot car in 2008. They had recently changed their daycare drop off routine from one drop off to two different drop offs.

Nicole Engler and Pete Engler, Roseburg, Oregon

We are the parents of Remi, who died in a hot car. Remi’s father normally took Remi to daycare, but on the day she died her mother decided to take her. She had been sick and nobody had been sleeping well. Nicole missed the daycare drop-off and discovered Remi still in her car at the end of her workday.

Delores Estis, Longview, Texas

I am the mother of Christian LaCombe, who died in a hot car after his grandmother unknowingly left him in her car.

Gage Evans, Colorado

In 2019, Gage’s husband, Bill Bailey, was killed when a truck driver hauling a load of lumber was descending from the mountains on an interstate at a very high speed and crashed into the rear of slowing traffic in Lakewood, Colorado, killing 4 people and injuring many others. 

Dalyce Franz, Las Vegas, Nevada

I am the mother of Seth Franz, 4, who was inadvertently forgotten in a car during August of 2015 after going out for the day with family.

Michelle and Jason Fraser, Texas

Michelle and Jason are the parents of Jayden Faith Fraser, who was severely and permanently disabled when, during their return trip from feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving 2016, their vehicle was rear-ended. The crash caused Jason, who was driving, to be thrust backwards over his seat which despite complying with current safety standards collapsed resulting in a skull to skull with his 12-year-old daughter. The existing safety standard for the seatback that resulted in Jay-Fay’s traumatic brain injury was written in 1967.

Laura and Richard Fredricks, New Jersey

Laura and Richard’s daughter, Emily, was killed while riding her bicycle to work in 2017 when a sanitation truck turned in front of her. 

Angela Freedman, Norman, Oklahoma

A distracted driver hit my mom and she did not survive the crash.

Tami Friedrich Trakh, Board Member, CRASH and Truck Safety Coalition, California

Tami’s sister, Kris, brother-in-law, Alan, and two of their children, Brandie and Anthony, were killed in 1989 when a tanker truck overturned in front of them and exploded.

Kristi, Floyd and Brandi Garrigues, Washington

Kelsie and Savannah, killed in a 2015 crash, were were Kristi and Floyd Garrigues’ granddaughters and Brandi’s nieces.  They lost both of them that terrible day.

JoAnn Genthner, Estero, Florida

The son of JoAnn's friend was killed he was struck by an off-duty police officer who was driving recklessly.

Vanessa and Michael Goolsby, Hialeah, Florida

We are the parents of Micayla Goolsby who died at 11-months-old in a hot car in 2016 after her loving father unknowingly left her in the car.

Joy Green, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

I am the mother of Angel Green, who was left in a hot van at daycare and died.

Anna Guardipee, Virginia

Anna and her dear friend, Jennifer Burton, were slowed in construction traffic in 2019 when a semi failed to stop and rear-ended their vehicle, pushing them into another semi.  Anna was paralyzed and Jennifer was killed.

Latasha Hairston Springs, Winston Salem, North Carolina

I was texting while driving and injured myself and two other people in a separate vehicle.

Robin Hammett Gigger, St. Leonard, Maryland

Robin is the grandmother of Lee, who died at only 1 year and 23 days old after his foster mother unknowingly left him in the car all day while she was working. 

Cierra and Brian Harting, St. Mary’s, Ohio

We are the parents of Cici, who died in a hot car after a miscommunication between us about who got her out of the car. 

Melissa Hastings, Rochester, New York

My nephew, Jack, was killed in a crash in New York City while crossing a street.

Nikki Hensley Weingartner, Board Member, Parents Against Tired Truckers and Truck Safety Coalition, Hawaii

Nikki’s husband, Virgil Hensley, was killed in 1997 when a truck driver ran a stop sign at an intersection, killing him instantly. 

Erin Holley, Charleston, South Carolina

Erin and her husband unknowingly left their 5-week-old son, Finn, in a parked car, thinking he was with them and their daughter on a trip to the park. Finn survived, but the family has since known two infants who were accidentally left and died in hot cars in South Carolina in separate incidents. 

Emily Hossann, Sparrowbush, New York

Emily is the mother of Logan Hossann, who was accidentally left behind in the car for 40 minutes. Thankfully no tragic injuries occurred but it could have easily ended up with a much different ending. 

Daphne and Steve Izer, founders and co-chairs, Parents Against Tired Truckers and board members, Truck Safety Coalition, Maine

Daphne and Steve’s son, Jeff, and three of his friends were killed in 1993 when a semi driver fell asleep at the wheel and ran over their parked car.

Sam and Raychele Jackson, Roanoke, Virginia

We are the parents of River, who died 4 months shy of her 3rd birthday after she quietly snuck out of the house and went outside to explore during her nap time. She was found dead inside the family van. River was able to easily get herself in, but she was unable to get herself out. 

Erin Johnson, Salisbury, North Carolina

My daughter, Bridget, died at 2 after being inadvertently left in her car seat inside my car. Her father had taken her to daycare the previous two days and I went to work thinking she was safely at her daycare facility.

Scott and Angela Jones, Gilbert, Arizona

We are the parents of Charly, 3, who died in a hot car in 2019 after her loving father unknowingly left her in his car while he worked. 

Debbie Kahn, founding member, Families for Safe Streets, Mamaroneck, New York

My only child was 22 and so full of life when he was run over and killed by a reckless bus driver while my son walked across the street in the crosswalk with the right of way.

Harold Kahn, Mamaroneck, New York

On November 4, 2009, our son Seth while walking in a crosswalk while the walk sign was illuminated. He was struck and killed by a speeding bus making a left turn.

Mary Beth Kelly, co-founder, Families for Safe Streets

I was cycling with my husband when he was struck and killed in the crosswalk — with the right of way — by a tow truck. An emergency braking system could have spared his life.

Dawn King, president, Truck Safety Coalition and Board Member, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Michigan

Dawn’s father, Bill Badger, was killed in 2004 while in slow traffic when he was hit from behind by a semi driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Eileen Kosc, Delaware

Eileen was driving home from the beach in slow traffic in 2013 with her sons, Brandon and Bryan, when she was struck from behind by an inattentive box truck driver who failed to slow down.  The truck continued on to hit four other vehicles before coming to a stop.  Eileen and Brandon were taken to the hospital with injuries.  Bryan, who was seven years old, did not survive. 

Roberta Koval and Joseph Koval, Rochester, New York

Our son, Jack, was hit and killed by a speeding, distracted driver in a crosswalk in New York City in 2016.

Emani Lawrence, San Diego, California

My grandmother was killed by a distracted driver talking his cell phone.

Robin L. Levitt, Rochester, New York

My cousin was killed by a speeding, careless driver in New York City while crossing the street.

Zhong and Perla Li, Pomona, California

We are the parents of Kiara who died at 3 ½ years old in a hot car in 2015. Tragically, this occurred after the family had a busy morning celebrating Father's Day and was the result of a miscommunication about who got her out of the car.

Larry and Patty Liberatore, Maryland

Larry and Patty Liberatore’s son, Nick, was killed in 1997 by a fatigued truck driver who drove his semi over their son’s vehicle. 

Conni Lowe, Lexington, Kentucky

I am the grandmother of Holland “Holly” Gaines Judy, 5 months, who died after she was left in her mother’s car in the driveway after her mother went to pay a bill. She was in the car for over an hour when her mother realized the baby was with her, but it was too late.

Alan and Carla Lyon, Dolgeville, New York

Our beautiful daughter, Sophia Lea Marie, died when she was 15 months old inside my car. We had dropped off our older children at two different locations and thought we had dropped Sophia off at her childcare location. We returned home, got ready for work and left in a different car, not realizing she was still in the other vehicle.

Holly P. Mabry, Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

My 18-year-old niece was killed by a hit and run driver as she legally walked in a crosswalk on University Avenue in Gainesville, Florida. 

Marta Magellan and James Gersing, Miami, Florida

We are the grandparents of 1-year-old Sammy Schnall, who died in a hot car when her mother thought her husband was getting the baby out, while he thought she had brought him into his room to nap.

Mary Majao, Brooklyn, New York

My 10-year-old son was killed on the sidewalk waiting on a bus to get home from school. The driver skipped a red light and was speeding.

Jessica and Justin Marson, Manteca, California

We are the parents of SaraCorinne Marson who survived being left in a hot car but suffered severe brain damage. SaraCorinne requires around the clock care due to her debilitating injuries. 

Jane Mathis, Vice President, Truck Safety Coalition and Board Member, P.A.T.T., Florida

Jane’s 23-year-old son, David, and his bride, Mary Kathryn, were killed while on their way home from their honeymoon in 2004 when they were stopped in traffic and hit from behind by a semi whose driver fell asleep at the wheel.  The car became wedged under the truck, then exploded.

Amy McCarth, Honeoye Falls, New York

A friend's son died in a terrible crash in NYC. His name was Jack Koval. He was hit as he was walking across the street. He was hit by an off duty NYPD officer with not a single charge against that police officer.

Judy McKeever, Rochester, New York

My best friend at age 21 was run down by drunk driver and killed.

Reginald and Julia McKinnon, Cape Coral, Florida

We are the parents of Payton Lyn, who died at only 17-months-old in a hot car in 2010 after her father unknowingly left her in his vehicle all day while he worked.

Nancy Meuleners, Minnesota

Nancy was severely injured in 1989 when her vehicle slid under the back of a semi stopped in traffic without emergency flashers illuminated.  She has had more than 40 surgeries to reconstruct her face and mouth and expects there will be more. 

Karen Milich, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

A speeding driver killed my best friend’s son in New York City.

Stephanie and Corey Mitchell, St. Louis, Missouri

Stephanie and Corey are the parents of Tate, who died 3 days after his first birthday in a hot car in 2017 after his loving mother unknowingly left him in her car all day while she worked.

Catriona and Brad Moe, Kansas

Brad was walking with his 3-year-old daughter, Isla, when they accepted a package from a delivery truck driver who was backed into the end of the driveway. They continued up their driveway when the driver backed up, killing Isla.

Rachel Morris, Locust Grove, Georgia

Mother of 6-month-old Savannah, who she unknowingly left in her car while taking her 5 girls to the park to play after church. Thankfully, Savannah suffered no injuries, but her mother will never forget that day and what could have been.

Linda Morrow, Rochester, New York

My 21-year-old nephew was killed by a reckless driver who happens to be an off duty police officer who never had to deal with any consequences.

Kathy Moylan, Rochester, New York

The son of my dearest friend and best friend of my daughters was killed by a car in New York City while walking across the street. He was 23 years old. Our lives have been forever changed in heartache and grief.

Jody Newcomb, Henderson, Nevada

I am the mother of Michael, 5, who was playing an innocent game of hide and seek and chose my car as his hiding place. Unfortunately, after four days on life-support we had to make that horrible choice but no parent should ever make.

Gina Newton, Austin, Texas

My 18-year-old son died in a crash with car driven by someone speeding.

Dorine E. and Thomas S. Norko, Kaiya Manlapit-Norko, Connecticut

In 2018, in Idaho, Dorine’s son, Kaiya’s brother, Senior Airman Lawrence P. Manlapit III, was killed along with two of his fellow airmen, Carlos Johnson and Karlie Westall, when the Jeep they were riding in was stopped in traffic in a construction zone and rear-ended by a tractor-trailer.  The Jeep and truck were engulfed in flames.  The semi driver, who had a poor record, was going 62 mph before impact, and was also killed.

Kristine Ohman, New York

My son’s best friend was killed in a car crash as he was crossing the street in New York City.

Marija and Tiana Ozolins, Mary Bakken, Virginia

On October 2, 2019, Mary’s husband, Marija and Tiana’s father, Peter Ozolins, was slowing in traffic when a tractor trailer failed to respond and hit the line of traffic.  Peter and one other person were killed.

Wanda Painter, Jacksonville, Florida

My granddaughter was killed on Dec. 9, 2020 while walking on University Ave at Florida University. We miss her so much

Purushottam and Mina K P Panthee, New York

In 2020, Purushottam and Mina’s 10-year-old son, Shree, was killed, and Mina has serious, life-threatening injuries, from a collision in a school crosswalk with a Queens, New York, sanitation truck. In Purushottam’s words: “It is not just the physical wounds but she (Mina), along with our whole family, is suffering from mental pain.  We are a victim’s family and want to request the U.S. government to impose more regulations for truck safety and pedestrian rights to save lives.”

Ann Pasquale, Miami, Florida

One of my daughter’s closest friend was killed while standing on a street corner on University Ave at the University of Florida, Gainesville. One car ran a red light. And one car tried to make a left turn after the light changed. The collision resulted in Sophia being hit by the turning car and killed. I hope this country can come together on this issue and we can get legislation passed to prevent others from suffering.

Dawn and Wes Peabody, Phoenix, Arizona

We are the parents of Maya Peabody who died after her father inadvertently left her in the car during a change in routine.

Patti Perutelli-Wooldridge, Rustburg, Virginia

My husband, Frank was killed by a distracted and texting driver in Virginia.

Ashley Phillips, Kaufman, Texas

I am the mother of Charleigh, who I unknowingly left in my car when she was 3-months-old. I am so grateful that my daughter survived because so many do not.

Stephanie Pinon, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Mother of Jahzel Pinon, 2, who died in her mother’s van. Jahzel’s father strapped her into her car seat behind the driver’s seat before an appointment. Her mother thought she was at home with her father and unknowingly left her in her van for several hours.

Maria-Theresia and Brian Pio, Phoenix, Arizona

Drake Pio was left unknowingly by his loving mother in a hot car at 14 months old in 2014. By the grace of god, he survived however the entire family of 6 were severely traumatized by this preventable accident. 

Raymond and Dikeisha Prye, Houston, Texas

Raymond and Dikeisha are the parents of Raymond, Jr. who died at only 3 in 2018 after being left in a hot daycare van after returning from a field trip to the local park on one of the hottest days in July that year.

Kristi and Ben Reavis, Texas

Kristi and Ben are the parents of Emily and Owen, who at the ages of 5 and 3, both suffered fractured skulls and severe traumatic brain injuries when their vehicle was rear ended in 2016. The front seats collapsed causing both of their parents to be thrust under their seatbelts and into their children sitting in car seats in the back. The existing safety standard for the seatback in the Reavis’s vehicle was written in 1967.

Douglas and Cathy Richeson, Canton, Michigan

Our family lost our son: Captain Nathan Douglas Richeson on Aug. 29, 2014 to a distracted driver. He was a devoted son, brother, uncle, husband as well as a dedicated pilot with the 121 Rickenbacker Ohio National Guard.

Juan and Marissa Rodriguez, New City, New York

Juan and Marissa are the parents of twin babies: Luna and Phoenix who died at only 1-year-old in a hot car in 2019 after their loving father unknowingly left them in his car all day while he worked. Juan is a U.S. combat veteran and currently serves in the New York Army National Guard.

Stephanie Salvilla, Orlando, Florida

Mother of Gannon Werking who died on his 5th month birthday in a hot car in 2009 after his mother unknowingly left him in her car all day while she worked. Stephanie had a safety routine of placing the bottles in her front seat as a reminder, but on that day the bottles weren’t in the front seat.

Tania San Miguel-Bounds, Ollala, Washington

I am the parent of Miah Isabel who died at only 20 months old in a hot car in 1999 after I unknowingly left her in my car. I thought she was in daycare.  Miah was in my car for one hour in the Texas heat before I realized she hadn’t been dropped off. 

Claire and Theodore Schwab, Virginia

Claire and Theodore are the parents of Teddy, who on Easter weekend 2016 was nearly killed at age 10 when the vehicle he was in was hit in a rear-end collision. The seatback collapse caused the front seat passenger to collide with Teddy, fracturing his skull, leaving him with traumatic brain injuries and in a coma for a month. The existing safety standard for the seatback in the vehicle Teddy was in was written in 1967.

Amy Scolaro, Johnsonville, New York

My friend was lost due to a reckless driver.

Lindsey Rogers-Seitz and Kyle Seitz, Morrisville, North Carolina

Parents of Benjamin Seitz, who died in a hot car when he was 15-months-old after his loving, devoted father missed the turn to daycare and unknowingly left him in his rear-facing car seat while he was at work all day. This week marked the 7-year anniversary of Benjamin’s death.

Sue Boe Shea, Land O Lakes, Florida

Grandmother of 5-month-old Kate Lola Boe, who died in the back seat of an overheated vehicle on June 28, 2006. No charges were filed. This was neither a case of abuse nor negligence, but tragically happened as a result of unusual circumstances.

Loren E. Sindt, Panama City, Florida

I am the mother of Joziah, who died at only 16 months old in a hot car. I had buckled him into his father’s car before they drove to their uncle’s home where he was unknowingly left behind by his father. I discovered Joziah still in the car when she arrived a short time later.

Ed Slattery, Maryland

Ed’s wife, Susan, was killed, and his sons, Peter and Matthew, were severely injured in 2010 when they were rear-ended by a truck driver who fell asleep.  Lifetime costs for Matthew’s care alone are estimated to be $35 – $45 million.  Ed’s journey since the crash has been documented in the book, "The Long Blink, The true story of trauma, forgiveness, and one man’s fight for safer roads," by award-winning Baltimore reporter and author, Brian Kuebler. 

Jennifer Smith, CEO,, Oak Park, Illinois

My mother was killed by a cell phone-distracted driver in Oklahoma.

Amanda Sorohan, Rutledge, Georgia

My son, Caleb, was killed in a texting and driving wreck in 2009 when he was 18 years old.

Mike and Jenny Stanley,Evans, Georgia

We are the parents of Sydney who died at the age of 6 in a hot car in 2010 after entering the family car on her own.  Sydney died in a GM vehicle that would have had occupant detection technology if GM had followed through with their promise to add it to their vehicles by 2004. It’s 2021 and they still haven’t done it. We need a safety standard for this technology.

Brenda Stotts-Young, Kentucky

Brenda is the mother of Detective Deidre Mengedoht, who was killed as a first responder in December 2018 when a semi-truck hit her cruiser, which was stopped on the side of I-64, sending her into the pickup truck she had pulled over due to traffic violations.  Her cruiser burst into flames and Detective Mengedoht was killed. 

Eric and Michelle Stuyvesant Garland, Texas

We are the parents of Michael Stuyvesant, who suffered multiple strokes and brain injury after being unknowingly left in his father’s car for an extended period of time on June 10, 2015. A change in a daily routine nearly cost Michael his life.

Russell Swift, Co-Chair, P.A.T.T. and Board Member, Truck Safety Coalition, Maine

Russ’s son, Jasen, was killed instantly, as was a fellow Marine, while they drove in the dark to work in 1993, by a 17-year-old truck driver without a permit whose truck was stuck across two lanes after trying a U-turn, causing the car to drive into and under the side of the trailer.

Billy Taylor, Jesup, Georgia

Billy is the grandfather of Jaxon, who died at 11 months old in September of 2015 after his other grandparents forgot to get him out of the car when they returned home from church.

Michele and Mikey Terry, Maypearl, Texas

Parents of Mika Terry who was tragically forgotten in a hot car by her father who was out of his routine and became distracted by a phone call in 2005.

Jennifer M. Tierney, board member, CRASH and Truck Safety Coalition, North Carolina

Jennifer’s father, James Mooney, was killed on a dark, rural road in 1983 when he crashed into a truck with no visible lights blocking the roadway.

Nina Todd, Shenandoah, Iowa

Nov. 28, 2010: a girl that was speeding, passing on a hill and texting while driving hit me head on and I lost my sons, Maliki age 5 and Alex age 4. I was also severely injured in the crash.

Amy Cohen, New York, co-Founder of Families for Safe Streets

Mother of Sammy Cohen Eckstein. Sammy was 12 years old and waiting for a friend to head to soccer practice, when his ball bounced into the street.  The driver of a commercial cargo van struck Sammy, and he died from his injuries on Oct. 8, 2013.

Paula Tolliver, Ohio

On Dec. 7, 2018, Paula’s granddaughter, Teresa Howell, was working on U.S. Route 33 replacing a guardrail when a semi driver veered off the road. Teresa was hit and killed.  The driver did not stop, and when he was found, he stated he did not realize he had hit anything. The driver of this semi had killed another person in a similar crash less than six months prior.  Teresa left behind two sons, ages five and six.

Brenda Turner, Macedon, New York

A head-on collision killed my brother.

Ann P. Von Thron, Neptune Beach, Florida

My 18-year-old niece was killed by hit and run driver as she was crossing in a legal crosswalk on the University of Florida campus.

Melissa Wandall, president, National Coalition for Safer Roads, Bradenton, Florida

My young husband, Mark Wandall, was killed and my brother, Philip Wolfe, was severely injured when a motorist ran a red light. The light had been red for an estimated half mile. We were just married and 9 months pregnant with our daughter Madisyn Grace, who was born just two short weeks after this preventable crash.

Liz and Andrew Warner, Colorado

Liz and Andrew are the parents of Taylor Grace Warner, who was killed in 2010 at 17 months old when their vehicle was rear-ended causing the front seat, which complied with current safety standards, to collapse backwards crushing Taylor despite her being properly restrained in a child seat. The existing safety standard for the seatback that crushed and killed Taylor was written in 1967.

Rick Watts, Virginia

In 2015, Rick’s wife, Tiffany, his stepdaughters, Kelsie and Savannah, and Sandra Anderson, Tiffany’s mother, were stopped near Chattanooga, Tennessee, in traffic due to construction, when a tractor trailer collided with eight vehicles.  Six people, including Rick’s entire family, were killed, and another six people were injured. The NTSB investigated this horrific crash.

Allison Werner Shiner, Texas

I inadvertently left my 2-year-old in my car for 30 minutes in July while visiting family in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Kristin Whitaker, Palm Harbor, Florida

In 2016, Kristin's son Lawson — just 22 months old, passed away in a vehicle after his father dropped his older sister off at kindergarten (a new routine) and then believed he had dropped him off at daycare. He studied all day for a first responder exam believing Lawson was at his daycare being taken care of. More than 40 children passed away that year in similar circumstances.

Linda Wilburn, Board Member, P.A.T.T. and Truck Safety Coalition, Oklahoma

Linda and Gary Wilburn’s son, Orbie, was killed in 2002 when a tired truck driver slammed into his car.

Kristina Wilcoxson, Norman, Oklahoma

Mother of a now 13-year-old who survived when he was unknowingly left in her car as a baby.

Amy Wilson, Rochester, New York

In July 2016, my good friends lost their son due to being hit and killed by an off duty police officer while walking home in New York.

Franklin Wood, Virginia

Franklin’s daughter, Dana, and her friend were killed in 2002 when a truck driver, driving on a suspended license, struck Dana’s car, pushing it 1,500 feet down the highway. 

Linda Woodall, St. Louis, Missouri

On July 16, 2021, Linda’s daughter, Tina Woodall, was entering an intersection, when the 21-year old driver of a moving truck ran a red light and t-boned her car. Tina was killed.

Pamela Sue Woods, Middleville, Michigan

My grandson was paralyzed by a texting, red light runner


These vignettes were compiled by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

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