East Ala. family hopes to make Hwy. 280 safer after the death of their loved one

East Ala. family hopes to make Hwy. 280 safer after the death of their loved

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - A heartbreaking loss is prompting one East Alabama family to make changes in their community in an effort to keep others safe. This comes after a tragic car crash claimed the life of a young mother.

“Nobody wants to lose a child," said Stepanie Ellis, who lost her daughter, Diamond Wright in a car crash. "I don’t want nobody to go through the pain of losing anyone. But my child. That’s hard.”

Ellis and her other daughter, Qualeisha Wright, know that pain well after the death of 21-year-old Diamond Wright, who was killed in a car wreck on Highway 280 in Smiths Station in November.

“On the scene, I didn’t see her move, I didn’t see her open her eyes, blink or anything,” Qualeisha Wright said.

Authorities believe Diamond Wright, a Beulah High School graduate, may have pulled into the path of an oncoming truck. Her two-year-old son was also in the car. He survived the crash.

“It’s hard because we’re having to pick up the pieces now," Qualeisha Wright said. "Her baby, I’m sure, is wondering, ‘Where is my mom?’”

But as they’re picking up the pieces, they’re turning tragedy into change, attempting to rally the community’s support to make Highway 280 safer by combating the high speeds, blind spots, and other issues they see.

“There’s going to continue to be fatalities on that highway if something is not done,” Qualeisha Wright said.

They’ve started a petition to bring awareness to the changes they want to implement. They’re hoping to add warning signs, flashing lights, extra stoplights, or other ways to alert drivers of oncoming cars and make people slow down.

“I do not want another family to suffer because we are suffering, and that’s why I started the petition,” she said.

They’ve gotten hundreds of signatures in just a few days. Once they’re confident they have support, they plan to take up the issue with community leaders, not just in honor of Diamond Wright, but for the safety of everyone.

“It’s not all about Diamond, it’s about everyone," Ellis said. "The sooner we can get something done, the better we’ll feel that our community is a little bit safer.”

Click here to sign the petition.

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