Families, health department warn about teen deaths on Utah roads

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Department of Health has collected 10 stories for its ninth book “Missing Moments” about families reliving their tragedies: losing their teenage son or daughter due to a deadly car accident.

In 2015 there were 25 teenagers killed on Utah roads.

The department said almost 60 percent of them were not wearing their seat belts, and every 48 minutes there is a car accident involving teenagers in the state.

“In Maylee’s case her mistake cost her, her own life but if we can get teenagers to stop and read these stories and see themselves in these young people, then hopefully, they can understand this isn't just somebody else- it can be them,” said Maylee Anderson’s mother, Christine.

Maylee died at the age of 15, a few days after her car accident on Memorial Day. She and her mother were inside a rental car when they were hit.

“Maylee died on impact but was revived and taken to the hospital and died a few days later,” said Maylee’s father, Stu. “Despite how tragic our daughter's passing was and accident was- as well as everybody else's all 25 last year teen deaths- a lot of good we've been able to find a lot of good through that.”

The Andersons explained they have how their daughter Maylee touched so many lives at such a young age and they have found new friendships meeting with other families who have suffered through similar tragedies.

The family of 16-year-old Cadee Conner also opened up to tell the story of their daughter’s death, which is also shared in the health department’s booklet.

“I can't tell you what it felt like to get that call that day,” said Cadee’s mother, Aubree Conner.

She remembers the last time she saw her daughter on Oct. 29, 2015.

“That morning she was straightening her hair and I remember telling her how beautiful she was. I was told in my heart to give her one more hug as she got in that car. But I didn't. I didn't want to embarrass her in front of her friends and she got in the car and she drove away and she texted me when she got to school to say she made it safe,” Conner said.

Then Cadee went with her two friends to lunch. They were hit at the Mountain View Corridor Intersection in Herriman, just a half mile from her house. Cadee was in the front passenger seat and was hit on her side by a truck.

“As painful as this is, getting up every day and not have her here our family and Cadee would do anything to help the families of others,” Conner said.

That is why they shared her story, so new drivers could feel the weight of their new privilege to drive.

To learn more about Maylee and Cadee and other families’ stories you can download the Missing Moments booklet:  www.health.utah.gov/vipp or www.dontdrivestupid.com