A Memphis couple traveled to Virginia as part of their mission to turn their tragedy into action.
In November 2014, 33 year old Michael Higginbotham died when his car crashed into a tractor trailer on Walnut Grove near I-240.
The truck driver was making an illegal U-turn.
His parents, Laurie and Randy, began working with advocacy groups to improve truck safety features so another family will not have to go through the same pain.
“He was just a wonderful young man making it in the world doing what you’re supposed to do: having a job, paying taxes, being a productive citizen and all that was taken away on November 18 of 2014,” said Michael’s mother Laurie Higginbotham.
It has been roughly a year and a half since Michael was killed in a car crash with a semi truck on Walnut Grove.
It happened after midnight. The 33 year old was going east on Walnut Grove Road and had just crossed Yates Road when he hit the truck’s trailer.
“Because none of the airbags or anything like that came into play he was killed instantly,” recalled Laurie.
This week the Higginbothams drove to Virginia for a national conference on truck underride crashes.
Government and industry leaders will talk about solutions to reduce truck underride deaths and injuries. The gathering is part of the couple’s new normal to try and help others.
“You shouldn’t have to bury your children. Losing a child is the toughest thing that’s ever happened to me,” said Randy Higginbotham.
“We need the trucks. They need to get the goods to where they need to be and but there should be some safety features that the trucking industry itself can adopt that keeps all of us in passenger vehicles a little safer cause we’re no match against them.”
A crash test of a truck with an improved underride guard will take place at the conference tomorrow.