A teenager was killed in a car crash which happened only seconds after she unbuckled her seat belt to take a selfie.
16-year-old Kailee Mills from Houston was in a car with three friends driving to a Halloween party on October 28 last year.
Riding in the back seat sat next to her pal, the Klein Collins High School junior pupil decided to take off her seat belt to take a photo with her friends.
Seconds later the car crashed, rolling over, killing Kailee in the process only 500 yards from her home.
Harris County Sheriff’s deputies believe the driver of the car was speeding and lost control.
Flipping over, Kailee was ejected from vehicle. She was the only person not wearing a seat belt. All the other passengers survived.
Kailee’s dad David Mills told Fox 35:
The car went off the road. She was ejected and she died instantly. All the other kids in the car, they had their seat belts on and they all survived with very little injury.
Our daughter would be here today if she had been wearing her seat belt.
Deciding people need to be more aware of the issue, Kailee’s parents David and Wendy set up the Kailee Mills Foundation, a non-profit organisation which reminds everyone to buckle up.
— Kailee Mills Foundation (@kmillscharity) May 4, 2018
David explained to ABC13 why they set up the foundation saying:
It doesn’t matter if you’re going a mile or 100 miles. Everyone always questions why? Why did this happen?
And we’re never going to know the answer to that, but we know we can do something positive and I think that’s what she would want us to do.
He also emphasises there are 929 reasons why people should always wear seat belts in cars – the number of people in Texas who died last year while not buckling up.
This week we honor Angelica Matamoros. She went to be with the Lord at only 20 years old after being in a head on collision that resulted in her being ejected from the car. Sadly she was not wearing her seat belt. Please #BuckleUp4Angelica #KaileesAngels @abc13houston @ABC pic.twitter.com/kUegxdOpNq
— Kailee Mills Foundation (@kmillscharity) April 17, 2018
According to the foundation’s website, you are 20 times more likely to be killed if you are ejected from a vehicle while not wearing a seat belt.
And although it only takes seconds to click one into place, many people still do not wear one or dangerously unbuckle them while driving.
In the United States teenagers have the highest rate of non-seat belt use – something Kailee’s parents want to change.
Their mission statement is as follows:
Car accidents are the leading cause of death in this country for people aged one to 54, and it doesn’t have to be that way.
Each one of those fatalities leaves behind family and friends who must find the strength to carry on without them, and that deep loss is difficult and painful beyond words.
We want our daughter’s story to serve as a reminder to others about the importance of wearing seat belts. Our goal is to prevent other families from having to go through the same pain and loss that we are going through, and carry out Kailee’s legacy in a way that she would have wanted by helping others.
We chose to honour our daughter by focusing our energy on something positive and raise awareness about the importance of seat belt use.
To find out more about the Kailee Mills Foundation, you can visit their website.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.