Amberly always smiled, and she had good reason to. With two sisters, Jamie and Jessica, the girls were always finding things to laugh about. Her sisters remember her as a good listener who gave great advice.
Amberly was your typical teen. She loved country music star Kenny Chesney, ketchup and the TV show “Friends.” She was great with kids. To those who knew her, she was one of a kind – completely irreplaceable.
“My sister is gone forever and it’s because of a cell phone – how do you come to terms with that,” questioned Jamie, one of Amberly’s big sisters. “She will never graduate from LSU, fulfill her dream of being a teacher or get to marry the man of her dreams.”
On April 14, 2011, Jamie and Jessica had been out shopping and decided to stop for a bite to eat. Their mom had called and asked if either had heard from Amberly, who was driving to Ruston, LA to visit a friend. It was a four-hour drive from her home in Baton Rouge. Amberly’s dad had been called by her friend who was worried because Amberly hadn’t shown up.
“At that moment, I felt sick to my stomach,” said Jamie. “We decided to head home. When we walked in, my mom was in the living room waiting by the phone. It couldn’t have been more than three minutes when we got the call that changed our lives forever.”
The family was told that Amberly was involved in a three-vehicle crash. Because she was alone in her car, the family will never know exactly what happened that took the life of their beloved daughter and sister. However, based on witness claims, data from the crash investigation and what the family was able to determine, they believe Amberly was using her cell phone and didn’t notice the 18-wheeler in front of her was slowing down – causing her to swerve into oncoming traffic and hit another vehicle head on.
It took rescue workers several minutes to free Amberly from the wreckage. She was immediately air-lifted to a nearby medical center where she was rushed into surgery. Amberly didn’t survive. In the blink of an eye, that smiled that they loved so much was gone.
Because Amberly’s cell phone was not in her purse, which was taken with her to the hospital, the medical team had a difficult time finding contact information for her family. It was four hours after the crash before her family was informed of what had happened.
Amberly knew the dangers of using her cell phone while driving – Jamie had warned her repeatedly.
“I hope that by sharing Amberly’s story people will understand just how dangerous cell phone distracted driving is. Sharing her story is how I honor her memory, not using a cell phone is how others can honor her memory,” said Jamie.
Cell phone use while driving contributes to more than 1.4 million crashes each year, according to the National Safety Council. Make a commitment to drive cell free.
Do it for Amberly, Jessica and Jamie.