Family warning against distracted driving during prom season

Posted at 5:23 PM, Apr 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-11 19:50:44-04

BROOKFIELD -- It's prom season, and as many students prepare to get behind the wheel on the big night, one family is warning against reckless and distracted driving.

"I've actually lost a loved one who was in a distracted driving situation," Shakayla Towns said.

Towns is a senior at Washington High School of Information and Technology. As she shops for dresses for prom night, the gruesome details of her sister's untimely death are also at the forefront of her mind.

"I don't want to… I can't talk about it," Towns said, wiping away tears.

Towns' sister, Savanna Scott, was killed nearly three years ago while in the car with a reckless driver.

The driver was found guilty of a deadly hit and run after blowing a stop sign while speeding. She then crashed into another car and a light pole, killing Scott. Towns' mother, Shonda Rushing, said the driver left her daughter to die.

"I lost my best friend, a part of me, and it's hard picking up the pieces, but we've done it together as a family," Rushing said.

Community support has also played a role in the families healing. Parents Against Distracted Driving [PADD] and Love from Afar -a local nonprofit warning of the dangers of distracted driving -have rallied around Towns celebrating her academic success. Despite losing her sister she maintains a 4.1 GPA. Now the groups are gifting her with a dress and a free prom night makeover.

"I know [my sister's] watching over me, so it makes me work harder," Towns said.

Besides reckless driving, Towns and Rushing are also warning teens not to drink and drive. Preliminary numbers show in 2018 there were more than 350 crashes involving suspected drunk drivers under 21 in Wisconsin resulting in nearly 200 injuries 7 deaths.

"One small decision you make could devastate a family for the rest of their lives," Rushing said.