Local mom organizes 'Drive With a Cop' after daughter's death

teen driving workshop

WILSONVILLE, Ore. -- It's the number one killer of teens in the U.S.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says car crashes took the lives of more than 2,100 teenagers in 2013, alone.

Saturday, in honor of 'Teen Driver Safety Week', one local mom was on a mission to help other families avoid that nightmare.

Carrie Higgins shares her daughter's story every chance she gets.

"I remember laying in my front yard, physically getting sick," she said. "The first call I got, I remember thinking, she's gone."

Maddi Higgins, 17, died last summer when the car she was riding in, driven by a friend, crashed into a power pole along Pete's Mountain Road.

Both teens died.

Police said they were speeding.

"Passengers are there to be second sets of eyes, to be co-pilots, to be the voice of reason," Carrie said. "I didn't have that talk with Maddi."

Now, Carrie has it with any kid who will listen.

She started a campaign called 'Angel 5 – Long Live the Legacy of 5', honoring five local kids, killed in crashes.

On Saturday, she hosted the first ever ‘Drive With a Cop', with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

About 30 kids learned Maddi's story, saw a forensic recreation of her crash, then refreshed their skills on the road with an officer in the passenger seat.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts says officers talk to the kids about cases like Maddi's.

"The other point we really talk about to is how difficult, too, it is for a police officer to make a death notification to a family," said Roberts. "So when something like this happens, it really does touch an entire community."

Kids said the event hit home. For one boy, the lesson was especially fresh.

"I got in a crash about a month ago with the car I was actually driving (today)," said 16-year-old Aaron Jesse. "Even if you know you're a good driver and people tell you you're a good driver, it's still good to just advance your skills… Better safe than sorry."

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