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Family urges seat belt use after daughter's death

"Buckle up for Brooke"
Posted at 10:35 PM, Jul 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-03 06:27:15-04

A Southwest Florida family opened up about the heartbreaking loss of their 16-year-old daughter as a warning to others to wear your seat belt.

Brooke Rice, 16, died in a car crash on Livingston Woods Lane in Naples Saturday night. Three other girls were in the car and Rice was a passenger. All four girls were ejected from the car, but Brooke didn't survive.

Her family said Rice and her friends were on a quick drive around the block when it happened. 

"An animal jumped out in front of the car. The driver over-compensated, and they crashed," her father David Calhoun said.

He said none of the four girls in the car were wearing seat belts and were all ejected from the car and taken to local hospitals, but Rice was the only one who didn't survive. 

Rice's mom Tammy Calhoun said the only thing getting her through is learning from one of the other girls in the car that Rice went peacefully.

"She was smiling and laughing, and she said she felt like God came and picked her up and brought her to him because it was peaceful to them, instead of tragedy," her mom said.

Her loved ones say she's a smart girl and fantastic athlete at her High School in Naples. 

"She was like a beam of sunshine in every situation you could possibly imagine," her boyfriend Alex Matthey said.

"She was gorgeous. Stunning in so many ways. Hard-headed for sure, but in a good way," her big brother Tyler Rice said.

"She had this smile just really stuck with you," her big sister Marissa Calhoun said.

"I pray that nobody ever has to go through that ever in their life," Rice's mom said.

Now the family is on a mission to keep other's from making the same mistake Rice did.

"Buckle up for Brooke," her dad said. "We would be taking care of a girl with a couple of bumps and bruises had she just been wearing a seat belt."

"Put the seat belt on before you even start the car. If Brookie had the seat belt on, she would be alive right now. I just know it," her mom said.

The other three girls involved in the crash are dealing with various injuries but are doing fine.

Rice's family is getting bracelets made that say "Buckle up for Brooke."

They are also raising money for a scholarship fund in Brooke's name