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KDOT safety blog tells personal stories of lives saved, lost during Put the Brakes on Fatalities campaign

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Department of Transportation’s safety blog will feature personal stories of lives lost and saved during the Put the Brakes on Fatalities campaign.

The Kansas Department of Transportation says 14 Kansans and Missourians have shared their stories as part of the Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day safety blog series. Some stories are journeys of triumph about a life saved, others tell tragic tales of lives taken.

“My beautiful daughter, Danielle, made a decision that not only took her life, but flipped life upside down for her entire family and so many friends,” said Jacque Tierce, of Larned, in Tuesday’s safety blog. “She was texting on Snapchat while driving down the highway at 65 mph, didn’t see a semi in front of her that slowed to make a turn and slammed into the back of it without braking.”

KDOT said Danielle died in May 2018 due to texting while driving.

“She’s not here and never will be again,” Jacque said. “Sometimes you just have to breathe through the pain. A pain that will be there for the rest of your life.”

According to KDOT, four Kansas Highway Patrol Troopers will also share their stories throughout the series. When someone dies in a vehicle crash, troopers are the ones whose job it is to notify the family. They see the consequences and pain the families go through and experience some of it as well.

Technical Trooper Tod Hileman from Hays said he responded to a double fatality that involved teenagers. Part of the process is to make sure victims are correctly identified. During that process, he said he noticed the teenage girl driving the car was the same age as his own daughter and had the same hair and eye color.

“I just kind of had a flash that it was my daughter lying there,” Hileman said. “So that really hit me.”

After everything at the scene was wrapped up, Hileman said he had to go meet the parents and told them the words no parent ever wants to hear.

KDOT said the safety blog series started on Sept. 22 and runs through Oct. 11 as part of the efforts in Kansas to highlight the national safety campaign Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day. Whether in a vehicle, on a motorcycle or even walking down the street, the campaign’s goal is that residents arrive at their destination safely.

To read the safety blog series, click HERE.

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