Voices of the Crash
Maddi Higgins was my beautiful first born daughter. She was a 17 year old junior at West Linn High School with a passion for softball who proudly wore the No. 5 jersey for both her high school and travel ball teams. She received “All-State” recognition multiple times and was a shining athlete in the outfield and behind the plate. While she was well known in softball circles for her feisty, tenacious, 'no fear’ style of play. She may have been better known off the field for her tender, compassionate heart, and her fiery, spunky spirit that fueled her desire to bring joy and happiness to others. If you had the pleasure of meeting Maddi – you would know…she was truly unforgettable.
On June 8th 2014, our lives were shattered into a million pieces when Maddi was involved in a tragic car crash. The car she was a passenger in lost control and sheared in half after hitting a utility pole while traveling at an estimated speed of 95mph.
According to the accident report, the drivers 1997 BMW 328 was heading north on Petes Mountain Road "at a high rate of speed" through a pronounced dip in the road around 5:17 p.m. when his right front tire barely went off the pavement and hit a gravel shoulder. Deputies say the driver likely over-corrected slightly, sending the car into a counterclockwise spin across the road. Impact with the pole crushed the passenger side of the car into the driver's side. When responders arrived at the scene both the male driver and Maddi were unconscious.
Upon our arrival at the hospital we were told by the trauma physicians that Maddi had experienced a “traumatic brain injury", was very sick, and that her prognosis was not good. Twenty-four agonizing, heart-wrenching hours later, doctors declared Maddi brain dead. We kept her alive in order to harvest her organs so others could live. She died on Monday June 9th —3 days before completing her junior year at West Linn High School.
Maddi’s life had an enormous impact on many other lives. When she was 'stolen home' on June 9th, 2014, her wish to be an organ donor created a flawlessly executed 'final play' and ultimately saved “5” other lives.
What I want others to know is that our story and all of the devastation and the many lives that have been interrupted and shattered by this tragedy didn’t have to happen because this crash and so many crashes are 100% preventable.
Our family narrative was forever changed after Maddi’s death and we’re all really just shells of what we ‘once were’. Life somehow still goes on even if we’re not “all there” inside of these ‘false front’ exterior shells. Don’t ask me how or why but sometimes I feel like my pain and loss should stop, but I’ve learned it just doesn’t so at some point on our grief journey we need to try to learn how to “actively live” again. Baby steps.
I want to educate both youth and adults on the subject of safe teen driving by discussing the devastating consequences that being reckless or distracted behind the wheel often bring. We are committed to drawing awareness to the epidemic issue of distracted and reckless teen driving, the very thing that took my daughter’s life.
I’m trying to draw from my own pain. I hope that educating others and sharing from a very personal perspective of the one’s left behind to pick up the pieces from the wreckage and aftermath of a fatal car crash will help teens better understand that the decisions they make when getting in a car (both as a driver and passenger) can be the difference between life and death.
I am refusing to let Maddi's death be her LAST chapter. I have decided to take Maddi's death and its tragic underlying lessons, and continue writing it her honor. ‘Maddi Higgins, Volume Two’ will be filled with chapters that I never could have envisioned reading (let alone helping write).
LONG LIVE MADDI