Friends raise awareness to ‘buckle up’ after death of cheerleader

bethany harris

DORA, Ala. (WIAT) — Friends and classmates are still grieving the loss of a University of West Alabama cheerleader who died in a car accident in December. One of Bethany Harris’ closest friends and sorority sister, Sarah Neill, took Bethany’s tragic mistake and turned it into a platform of action to get people to use their seat belts and buckle up.

“I’ve done some research and I’m doing two pageants in the next month and I’ve decided to have a platform and call it buckle up for Beth,” Neill said.

More than a week after Bethany Harris was ejected several feet from her car into a wooded area from not wearing a seat belt, her close friend is getting the word out that it’s time to buckle up.

“I’ll always buckle up from now on, that’s for sure,” said Ashlynne Owens, a friend of Bethany’s. “Actually it kind of scares me more than anything because there have been times that I haven’t been buckled up.”

“I want to encourage young people especially teens to wear their seat belts because as the statistics say 55 percent of teens do not wear their seat belts and 55 percent are killed,” said Neill.

While emotions are still raw at Bethany’s alma mater at Dora High School — friends and classmates can’t help but remember her bright spirit.

“I think most people are taking in that they need to tell everyone that they love them, no matter what, you never know when your last time is going to be,” said another one of Bethany’s friends, Katy Neill.

“She loved cheer-leading, and she was always so excited she always had that big monkey she would bring around,” laughed Anna Washington.

“My favorite is when she said ‘I love you, baby’ that’s something I’ll always remember, she said it every time we saw her, it didn’t matter where you were, she always said it,” Owens remembered.

Her friends are saying “I love you” back by spreading awareness to buckle up and through a fundraiser with t-shirts dedicated to Bethany. So far they’ve raised over a thousands dollars, which is being donated to Bethany’s parents.

Copyright 2016 WIAT 42 News


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