SPRING, TX (CBS Local) - The parents of a 16-year-old ejected from a car after she removed her seat belt to take a selfie are turning their grief into action.
- Kailee Mills was killed in an accident seconds after taking off her seat belt to take a selfie
- Mills was the only passenger killed and the only passenger not wearing a seat belt
- Her family has started a foundation to promote seat belt awareness
Kailee Mills had just left her home in Spring, TX with friends to attend a Halloween party. She was riding in the backseat and the party was only a mile away. Mills was a few blocks away from home, according to her parents, when the car she was riding in veered off the road. Just seconds before the crash, Mills had removed her seat belt to slide over in the backseat to take a selfie with her friend. When the car rolled over, Mills was ejected from the backseat and died instantly. Her three friends walked away with only minor cuts and bruises. Mills was the only one in the car not wearing a seat belt.
Kailee Mills (photo courtesy: Facebook)
"We know if she had her seat belt on, she'd still be here," Mills' father, David told The Independent.
Mills was a 4.3 GPA student at Klein Collins High School in Spring, TX and enjoyed spending her time helping other people and volunteering. Friends described her as having a contagious laugh and smile. She planned to attend Texas A&M University to pursue a career in biomedical science.
Mills' parents said she was very good about wearing her seat belt. In fact, they couldn't recall one single time that they had to remind her to wear her seat belt and never caught her without it on. He friends were all in shock because she was the one that always made sure everyone was buckled up and never put her car in drive until all of her passengers were buckled up.
According to reports, authorities believe the driver was speeding and lost control of the car.
The teen's parents want their daughter's death to serve as a reminder to others about the importance of wearing seat belts, and have started the Kailee Mills Foundation to do so.
Their goal is to prevent other families from having to go through the same pain and loss they're going through and carry out their daughter's legacy in a way that she would have wanted by helping others. The foundation works to provide stickers for car windows and motorbike helmets across the region to remind drivers and passengers to buckle up. The Mills family also partnered with the "Click It or Ticket" campaign, which focuses on safety education, strong laws, and law enforcement officers saving lives.
In 2016, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,668 lives of occupants ages 5 and older, according to Traffic Safety Marketing.
[H/T CBS DFW]
for more features.