UHP reminds travelers to wear seat belts during holiday weekend

Posted at 8:42 PM, Nov 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-25 23:00:43-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Hundreds of thousands of Utahns are getting ready to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Tuesday the Utah Highway Patrol wanted to share a message that it hopes, will save lives: buckle up.

With tears filling her eyes, Laura DeFriez recounts the rollover accident she and five of her family members were in last November when they were traveling southbound on Interstate 15 in Beaver County.

Their 19-year-old daughter, Kailee, was behind the wheel of their minivan. The family was driving to their grandmother's house for Thanksgiving when police say Kailee over-corrected while making a lane change. Their van went across the median, and rolled into oncoming traffic.

"You're just desperate to listen to your family's voices, for them to respond when you ask, 'are you OK?'" DeFriez said as she remembered the night of the crash.

The family says the van rolled at least five times and then finally landed, right side up.

"When she (Kailee) wouldn't respond to anyone talking to her it was frightening, it was one of the most horrible times in my life," DeFriez said.

"As soon as the tires grabbed the side of the road and started to spin and flip and ultimately roll," DeFriez said. "There was dust flying all over little bits of glass and cold air rushing in and absolutely silence otherwise."

All five of the passengers had injuries. Kailee was airlifted to a hospital, but also survived.

They credit their survival to one thing -- seat belts.

"There would have been a lot less of us and we'd have a lot less to be grateful for I'm grateful we were all wearing our seat belts that night," DeFriez said.

Utah Highway Patrol says this crash is just one of many examples of seat belts saving lives. UHP is reminding everyone to buckle up as they go out for the holiday weekend.