KGUN 9NewsLocal News


Tucson couple speaks out about daughter killed in car crash

Operation Safe Roads: Distracted driving
Posted at 8:45 AM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-21 17:34:04-04

Parents of a young Tucson girl killed in a car crash this year are speaking out for the first time.
They want to share a message about the deadly dangers of distracted driving and the impact on loved ones left behind.

It's been 5 months since Troy and Nanette Thorns lost their daughter, Trelyn, a confident 10-year-old, who was a straight A student, athlete and burgeoning young writer. "I'm holding her journal. She wrote a lot and as I'm cleaning up her room I'm finding all these different poems," she said.
Nanette shares one with us -- written just a week before her daughter's death.

Nanette reads, "You love me for who I am every day of my life."

Her heartbreak is evident when she talks about Trelyn and about the horrific crash at an east side  intersection while the two headed home from church.

"I saw lights come and in my mind I was thinking is that car going to stop. But before that statement was a complete thought in my head we were already rolling," she described.

Tucson Police reports reveal a 19-year-old driver ran a red light and slammed into Nanette's car. "I do remember seeing my daughter's legs flipping. When the car came to a stop and I thought -- okay -- where's Trelyn," she said.

Frantic to find her, she learned Trelyn had been pinned under the car. She remembers people rushed to help rolling the car onto its roof to pull Trelyn out. She died later at the hospital.

The couple believes the death of their daughter came at the hands of a distracted driver. "It felt like we got hit by a missle. So it felt so intentional, so there was anger on the inside as to I mean what was this person thinking -- how did this happen?" she said.

The couple says the pain of losing their child is motivating them to speak out -- to send a message -- a powerful one that they hope will save lives. That even the slightest distraction can tragically change the lives of others forever.

Nanette: "We have a different life -- trying to adjust to that life."
Troy: "A new normal."
Nanette: "Well we don't have a normal yet. We've got to adjust to the thought that things are not going to be what you had planned -- or even what you might have thought -- like the kids started school. I didn't get to take my 6th grader to school. So I -- yeah."
Troy: "Life is not the same."

Despite their sorrow and anger, the devout Christian couple says they've forgiven the young driver, who now has to live with this tragedy, and they know in their hearts their daughter is in a good place. 

Nanette continues with her daughter's poem, "I will be in the house of the Lord forever. Mom, I love you."

KGUN9 has learned that police arrested the 19-year-old driver and charged him with a class 3 misdemeanor. He was issued a citation and released.