Local mother Sandra LaRose won't be buying the dress her daughter wanted to wear at what would have been her graduation this spring. Instead, the Francis-area farmer was forced to buy an urn for her teen.
It's the end of Teen Driver Safety Week and LaRose wants to share her message after her teenaged daughter died in a train collision this August.
"She's going to miss every important part of her life," shared LaRose. "She doesn't get to get that acceptance letter into the university, she doesn't get to live on her own and experience that total independence, she's not going to experience her first night at the bar with her friends. And I'm not going to get grand-babies, I don't get to help plan a wedding, I don't get to watch her walk across that (graduation) stage. There's just so much that she's going to miss all because of a phone."
LaRose, mother of 17-year-old Kailynn Bursic-Panchuk who died after her car was hit by a train at a crossing near the grain terminal on Highway 39, believes distracted driving was responsible for her daughter's death. Kailynn was heading to a friends place on the day of the accident and LaRose said she received an unofficial report from CP Rail investigators stating the map app on her daughter's phone was open at the time of the accident and she may have also been reading messages about where she was heading. She also believes her music would have been blaring, which was common for the teen.
"That's another distractor," said LaRose. "It's not just the phones that are distracting but the music as well because had the music not been on she would have heard the train whistle."
LaRose said she doesn't wish this tragedy on anyone and hopes her message gets through to drivers young and old.
"She doesn't get a do-over," shared LaRose. "There's no music, no song, there's no phone call, no text message, no Snapchat, no anything that is more important than your life."
"She doesn't get a do-over," shared LaRose, who wants drivers to pay 100 percent attention to the road no matter what. "There's no music, no song, there's no phone call, no text message, no Snapchat, no anything that is more important than your life."
"There's more experienced drivers on the road than new drivers but teens think they're invincible most times, I believe, and that split second lapse of judgement on Kailynn's part cost her her life, cost me her life, cost all of her friends in Weyburn, and Fillmore, and Regina, and everywhere else her life."
LaRose said she has been speaking to teachers and hopes to share her message to students at the Weyburn Comprehensive School, where Kailynn would have attended Grade 12 this fall, in the near future. She said she feels Kailynn would have wanted her to spread the message about the danger of distracted driving in hopes of saving others.
"I'm going to keep talking because I'm not going to let anybody forget and Kailynn would be doing the same thing if the roles were reversed because that's the type of person she was. She cared about everybody and I know wherever she is, she is guiding me to do this because it's the right thing to do. If it saves one person, her and I have done good."
Listen to part of the interview with Sanda LaRose: