Father Warns of Texting While Driving After Daughter Dies in Crash - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Hayti, MO

Father Warns of Texting While Driving After Daughter Dies in Crash

By: CJ Cassidy

HAYTI, Mo. - We're getting closer to Christmas and that means big travel days ahead.

One Heartland man hopes his daughter's death this past Thanksgiving helps save someone else's life as they hit the road this holiday season.

The car Stefany Tillman was driving went off the road in Pemiscot County off of Interstate 55. You can still see the skid marks and her father says he drives by the spot every day.

Investigators who worked the crash say the 24-year-old did not have a seatbelt on and so when her vehicle flipped over she was thrown out, and died instantly.

When Stefany died, so did the laughter at the Tillman home.

"Its the last thing I think about before I go to sleep.  I wake up in the middle of the night and think about it.  I think about it all day," said her father Randy Tillman.

Stefany's death is especially hard on him.

He works for the Missouri Highway Patrol and says he's talked about the importance of seat belts ever since Stefany first began driving.

"Bottom line, I really believe if she would have taken the time to check that seatbelt she would be here today."

He also learned his daughter had been texting moments before she lost control of her car.

"We know that because we looked at her phone.  She sent a text at 12:01 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning.  She received a text at 12:02.  The Highway Patrol accident report says the accident happened at 12:05," her father said.

Now Tillman says it only takes an instant to lose control when you're driving, so he wants you to get the message that texting and driving don't mix.

Stefany worked on correcting speech disorders in the Hayti School District and dreamt of becoming an elementary school teacher.

Her dad says he hopes you remember his daughter's story the next time you get behind the wheel of a car.

It's a thought that gives him and his family some comfort as they try coping with their tragic loss.

Since her death, Stefany's father says many of her friends and other teens have admitted to him they wear their seatbelts more often.

  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • Jackson County, IL WWI vet remembered on 100th anniversary of death

    Jackson County, IL WWI vet remembered on 100th anniversary of death

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 10:54 PM EDT2018-07-19 02:54:15 GMT
    Pvt. Paul Stout (Source: Steven Bost)Pvt. Paul Stout (Source: Steven Bost)

    Private Paul Stout, US Marine Corps, was killed in action on July 19, 1918 in France. 

    Private Paul Stout, US Marine Corps, was killed in action on July 19, 1918 in France. 

  • Herrin, IL police department gets new crime unit

    Herrin, IL police department gets new crime unit

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 10:07 PM EDT2018-07-19 02:07:18 GMT
    Herrin Police Department is stepping up its policing efforts with their new unit focused on preventing property crimes. (Source: KFVS)Herrin Police Department is stepping up its policing efforts with their new unit focused on preventing property crimes. (Source: KFVS)

    Herrin Police Department is stepping up its policing efforts with their new unit focused on preventing property crimes.

    Herrin Police Department is stepping up its policing efforts with their new unit focused on preventing property crimes.

  • First Alert: Pleasant temps overnight into morning

    First Alert: Pleasant temps overnight into morning

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 9:11 PM EDT2018-07-19 01:11:58 GMT
    There is a chance of storms again on Friday followed by a nice weekend. (Source: William Foeste)There is a chance of storms again on Friday followed by a nice weekend. (Source: William Foeste)

    Temperatures are more pleasant this afternoon, running in the 80s to around 90. The heat index has been close to the actual temperature today in most areas.

    Temperatures are more pleasant this afternoon, running in the 80s to around 90. The heat index has been close to the actual temperature today in most areas.

Powered by Frankly