LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Three-year-old Jaya Brooks’s Christmas presents remain unopened under the tree at her home.
“It wasn’t a holiday. I didn’t celebrate. Numb to the holidays. Kind of jealous seeing everybody else celebrate,” said Jaya’s mother Darea Swain.
“It hurts bad,” said Jaya’s grandmother Andrea Raney.
While the holidays were difficult for the family, they are trying to move forward to keep Jaya’s name out there and keep people safer from wrong-way drivers. The family is working to set up a non-profit to help kids. Andrea Raney is a substance abuse counselor and student of social work and trauma. She’s seen kids come through pediatric emergency rooms, some who have clothes cut off for emergency treatment. Raney says the family wants to set up a non-profit to provide clothes to kids in hospitals, and when they leave. They have already collected things like pajamas, socks and other items for UMC.
The group has also connected with the advocacy group, “Stop Road Crashes.” The family eventually plans to push for harsher penalties for wrong way drivers. They want highway warning signs to indicate to drivers going the right way, that a wrong way driver may be coming at them. They would like rideshare drivers to be able to quickly contact their dispatchers, to contact law enforcement dispatchers when they see a wrong way or drunk driver. And they are pushing to get two wrong way sign systems activated at Skye and Kyle Canyon on U.S. 95, not far from where Jaya was hit.
“One person matters, especially to a lot of people,” said Swain.
“Because Jaya mattered,” said Raney.
At last check, NDOT said the wrong way sign alert systems at Skye and Kyle Canyon were in the process of being tested, but not yet activated. The warning signs flash when a driver goes down an exit ramp, in hopes they see it and turn around. The systems are also set up at I-15 and Starr Avenue and U.S. 95 at Durango.
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