Grieving mother working to change protocol at the scene of an accident

Grieving mother working to change protocol at the scene of an accident.(WISH Photo/Joe Melillo)

INDIANAPOLIS Ind. (WISH) – Lawmakers are looking into a change that could spare grieving families some of their pain. They are working on the “emergency contact database bill” to make sure people find out immediately if a loved one is hurt or killed in a crash.

Julia Harris has made it her mission for three years to change the protocol at the scene of an accident after she lost her son.

“I just think of him dying alone,” said Harris. “That’s all I ever think about is that we weren’t there. I try to think good things but it always comes back to me thinking we weren’t there to tell him we loved him.”

Harris’ son Joey was riding in the car with his girlfriend when she lost control and hit a tree at 3:15 PM on April 2, 2014. Medics rushed him to the hospital but Harris said no one contacted her.

“Three hours later they called and asked what we wanted to do with the body.” said Harris. “I said what you are talking about? It was the first I heard anything and they didn’t know I wasn’t notified.”

In the Indiana Statehouse, HB 1084 will insure that something like what happened to the Harris family never happens again.

Author and Representative Anthony Cook says it’s a heart breaking scenario.

“There’s all kinds of circumstance that occurs at an accident site, and this was to at least have within that reasonable amount of time someone insuring a call was made or contacted by the authorities to the parents.”

The bill would require the BMV to create and maintain the Indiana emergency contact data base so that authorities can call next of kin from an accident scene. It’s slated to be up and running by July 2019.

For Harris it’s a matter of helping another family before they go through what she went through.

“I just don’t want anybody to go through what we had to go through ever again. Our son died alone without us there, and we will always be haunted by that because we could have been with him.”

Representative Cook says he has the support of both the police and the BMV. It also will not need to head to the Ways and Means Committee, which means it won’t use any tax dollars.

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