PARKER, Colo. — A teenage girl died after she was ejected from a car Sunday night in Parker. Police said she was sitting in the backseat, but it’s unclear if she was wearing a seatbelt.
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The tragedy is something another Parker mother knows all too well.
“The law doesn’t say you have to wear it in the back seat, just the front. Hopefully, that will change someday,” Christy Schultz said.
Motsenbocker Road is a well-traveled road where many drivers don’t know the history that lies on the pavement.
"There are days I go other ways,” Schultz said.
Other ways to get around her memory of Motsenbocker Road--a road that altered her life forever.
"It was July 21, 2020, and I was leaving my house to take my other daughter, my youngest daughter, and her friends to a campus life event,” Schulz said.
She was leaving their home, turning onto Motsenbocker, when her phone rang. She initially thought it was her daughter.
"I said, 'Hey Sammie.' This lady said, 'Is this Sammie’s mom?' I said yes. She said, 'Sammie’s been in a terrible car accident. You have to come now.' I asked her where it was. She said 'On Motsenbocker.' I’m like, 'I’m turning on Motsenbocker. Where on Motsenbocker?” Schultz said.
Schultz didn’t know what she’d see when she got to the scene. She parked far back to protect the girls in the car. And they all began to pray.
"But then I saw my daughter's shoe in the middle of the street. I know it wasn't good,” Schultz said.
Samantha “Sammie” Raye Caflisch, 14, was ejected through the roof of the vehicle. Sammie was sitting in the back seat and wasn't wearing a seatbelt. She spent the next five days and even her 15th birthday in the hospital.
“Six days later, on Monday, we took her off of life support,” Schultz said.
They celebrated her birthday one final time at Children's Hospital Colorado after many surgeries.
“It’s not right. We should not lose our children. Parents should not bury their kids. It’s not something we plan,” she said.
Schultz was so overwhelmed by the love and support she received, she wants to share that with other families through the Sammie’s Sunshine foundation.
"We want to be there to walk alongside families who have a loved one in a car accident. It could be anything from being a shoulder to lean on, or we can help financially. Kind of depends on what their needs are,” Schultz said.
Sixteen months later, the memorial less than a mile away from their home is what's keeping Sammie’s memory alive.
"As a mom, to know she's remembered means a lot. Let ‘em know you remember their kid. Because that’s always something that means so much to us. To know our kids made an impact, our child did,” she said.
And she wants to leave this message with other drivers--not only teens--with hopes to spare another family from the pain.
"Just wear your seatbelt. It's such a simple decision and it can save lives,” Schultz said.
Schultz said next year they will partner with schools in Parker to promote seat belt awareness.
If you've lost a loved one or know someone who has due to a car accident, you can reach out to Sammie’s Sunshine here.
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