Teen's Memory Spurs Fight Against Wrong-Way Crashes

The parents of a 16-year-old girl who was killed in a wrong-way crash are working to prevent future tragedies.

Kara Taylor died after a driver allegedly going the wrong way on the Dallas North Tollway hit her in May.

Her parents, Bobbi Verduzco and Mike Taylor, learned about their daughter's death on May 10, Mother's Day and Verduzco's birthday.

"It's just day-by-day," Verduzco said. "I tell people it's just one breath at a time."

Taylor said they relieve their daughter's death every time they hear about a wrong-way crash. And now they are turning their grief into action.

"We want to try and help others as well in her memory," he said.

"I don't want another family to go through what we're going through," Verduzco said.

The North Texas Tollway Authority has recently improved signs and reflectors.

"I was very encouraged by his motivation and his drive to try to build on this and help others," said Allen Clemson, the head of the NTTA.

A task force will soon make more recommendations on how to help prevent wrong-way crashes.

"They still have a way to go, and I think they understand that," Taylor said.

Allen said money will not be an issue.

"We'll spend what it takes to make the roads as safe as they can be," he said.

The Texas Department of Transportation, which manages most of the roads in the Metroplex, is also studying the issue.

"Currently we're going highway by highway and ensuring that we do have all the signage in place that's required," said Cynthia Northrop, of TxDOT.

But there's more work to be done than what transportation agencies can do. Studies show most wrong-way crashes are caused by drunken drivers.

Mariza Martinez, the woman who is accused of hitting Kara Taylor, faces a charge of intoxication manslaughter. The case may go to trial early next year.

"I always wanted Kara home by midnight," Mike Taylor said. "After midnight, there's drunks on the road."

In the meantime, Kara Taylor's loved ones are keeping her memory alive. Her high school started selling pink wristbands in her memory, and her friends planted a red oak on the shores of Lake Lewisville.

"A lot of her friends will come down here late at night (and) just kind of think about her," Mike Taylor said.

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