WEST LINN, Ore. (KOIN 6) — “This really hit home with it, this last, this past weekend.”
Carrie Higgins, who lost her 17-year-old daughter Maddi in a car crash last June, was talking about the tragic death of Oregon City High School student Maddie West one week ago.
West died in a crash Feb. 20, one day before two other West Linn students, Cooper Hill and Antonio Caballero, died in a crash in the Gorge.
“It’s all kind of eerie similarities,” Carrie Higgins told KOIN 6 News. “The way we found out about the boys was very similar to how we found out about our daughter, and then with Madison from Oregon City sharing the same name as my daughter, the same age.”
Higgins is reluctant to label these accidents. She wants to educate young people and adults about the dangers of distracted or reckless driving.
Nationally, crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and many teen crashes are connected to texting while driving.
“It’s very traumatizing, knowing that these are preventable,” she said. “Most of the time they’re 100% preventable accidents.”
She’s joined with a national non-profit called “Impact Teen Drivers.” Adults will soon go through training on how to get the message to kids about staying safe on the roads. That training will extend to first responders who are often not ready for what they see at a crash scene.
“(They) shouldn’t be responding to fatalities and having to go up to family members and knock on doors and let them know their child didn’t make it,” she said.
Higgins has been through that pain. Her healing is knowing she may be able to prevent another family from feeling it as well.
“I need to create change, I need to create impact. I need to stop this.”