Parents hope to keep teens safe and wearing seatbelts on the road after losing daughter

SPRING, Texas (KTRK) -- David and Wendy Mills have lived every day for the last seven months without their daughter, Kailee.

"Losing a child is probably the worst thing a human can go through," said David. "We don't wish that on anybody, and that's why we're doing what we're doing."

Kailee, 16, was a junior at Klein Collins and riding in a friend's car to a Halloween party last October.

Her parents say they rarely had to remind her about wearing a seatbelt, but on that night, they believe she took it off to take a selfie. In that moment, a rollover crash took her life. Her friends wearing their seatbelts escaped with lesser injuries.

"It's a conversation that should never get old," said David. "I know sometimes the kids may get tired of hearing it but as a parent you need to constantly be reminding them."

TxDOT statistics from last year show 92 percent of Texans are wearing their seatbelts, yet 929 unbuckled people still died in wrecks. The state agency says wearing a seat belt reduces your risk of dying in a crash by 45 percent. That number jumps to 60 percent for pickup trucks.

The Mills want you to know the price they're paying - life without their daughter for what seems like a simple mistake.

"I describe it like being on a hamster wheel," said Wendy. "You can have a moment of happiness, but then you feel guilty for being happy, and then sad moments where you're literally screaming on the inside, but you have to get up and start your day."

Their grief has given birth to the Kailee Mills Foundation. Sharing Kailee's story and their message of seatbelt safety have given them a mission to focus on in the absence of their daughter.

"You wake up in the morning and you think that it was a dream and then you realize it wasn't a dream, and it's like your child dies every morning when you wake up," said David. "What we're doing is sharing our daughter's story, and hoping that it impacts somebody."

The Kailee Mills Foundation is hosting a 5K Glow Run Fundraiser on Saturday, June 23 at Klein Oak High School. In addition to raising money for seatbelt safety awareness, it also gives scholarships to students who've lost family members in car wrecks.

You'll want to register in advance for the 5K Glow Run. You can find more information on the Kailee Mills Foundation's website.
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