The day that Tyler died, it was Lee Perry who came to tell me. Lee was a family friend & the minute he found out Tyler was involved in this accident, He stayed with Tyler’s body and then insisted he be the one to notify me. He was crying as he delivered the news that Tyler had been involved in a car accident and that he had been killed.
Only a parent who has lost a child can understand the pain & devastation of that news. I wanted to die. There are not words to describe how much I hurt.
When the investigation into the accident was closed several months later. Lee Perry again came to me personally to deliver the news. If Tyler would have had his seat belt on, he would have been fine.
Lee Perry then explained that he had been working to pass a seat belt law in Utah for the past couple of years, but to no avail. He asked if I would help him.
I didn’t want to keep telling Tyler’s story & reliving that horrible day. However, after much thought and prayer, I decided if my efforts helped pass this law, and it saved just one family from the pain my family & I had suffered, it would be worth it.
I started by writing letters to each and every representative and legislators in Utah explaining who I was, telling them about Tyler and explaining the importance of the Tyler/Mandy Bill and how seat belts save lives. I also stated that as an ER nurse, I often saw what happens when you wear a seat belt and when you don’t.
In December, I sent all representatives and legislators a Christmas card with pictures of Tyler and our family and a plea to vote yes for the Tyler/Mandy bill.
In January, I personally went to the Utah State House of Representatives, and pulled Representatives out of session to plead my case about the importance of seat belts and to please vote yes for the Tyler/Mandy bill. I told many skeptics, that if this bill only saved one life, it was worth it. When one representative told me he didn’t think it was worth it, I asked, “Isn’t this worth one human life to you sir?” He later told me, because of our conversation, he changed his vote to yes.
Later, I testified in behalf of Utah’s primary seat belt law. Many people against the bill were there. Some emotions ran very high on both sides of the issue. But, I needed something good to come out of my beloved Tyler’s death. I was so passionate about the importance of this seat belt law. I knew it would save lives.
Happily, thanks to hard and tireless work by Lee Perry, the Tyler/Mandy bill was passed into law.
A couple of years ago, UHP patrolman Josh Carr, my neighbor, came to tell me the Tyler/Mandy bill had saved a life. A young man who knew Tyler was driving and didn’t have his seat belt on. He looked down at his Tyler bracelet and decided to put his seat belt on, after all, it was law now. A few minutes later, his car rolled. Because he had his seat belt on, he walked away. When UHP patrolman Carr arrived on scene, he saw this young man’s Tyler bracelet and said, “Hey, Tyler was my neighbor, how do you know him?” The young man explained how he knew Tyler & why he decided to put his seat belt on. So Josh delivered the wonderful news that I had my one saved life!
I am sure many other lives have been saved & I am so grateful to the Brown family for their help & support & especially to Lee Perry for his tireless work & support & for not giving up to get this law into place.
Mother of Tyler Stuart, featured in our 2013 Teen Memoriam