Courtney was an in vitro baby and was so wanted by her family. It was a pleasure to have her in our lives. She loved her brothers and her dog, Pookie. Courtney had a job, bought her own car and made sure that it had good tires on it. Courtney loved high school and had many friends, who describe her as amazing, funny, true, exciting, adventurous, forgiving, caring and indescribably beautiful. She would take her friend Jacob to and from work because he was diabetic and couldn’t drive. She got up at 4 a.m. and helped her friend Corbet with his paper route and she took lunch to her friend Alec at work.
Courtney loved to get dressed up and go to school dances, first with all her friends, and then exclusively with her friend Byron. Courtney lived a lifetime while she was here. She was 17 when Byron left on his mission. Court made him a book of pictures she had taken throughout their relationship and asked him not to forget her. He was back by her 18th birthday because he missed her so much. It was a good thing he came back. He got to spend those last six months with her.
Courtney graduated high school in June 2011. She got a job she really liked and moved out to see if she could make it on her own. She missed high school and started to think maybe it was time for college. We found a scholarship for media design at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), but they needed transcripts to enroll her.
On November 18, 2011, Court got a copy of her transcripts and asked a friend to drive her to SLCC. She called me and said, “The office is closed. I can see that nice lady inside but she can’t hear me knocking on the door.” I told her it closed at 6 p.m. on Fridays and that we would mail in her transcripts. She told me it wasn’t a wasted trip because she was still going to dinner with her friends. The last words I ever heard her say were, “I love you, Mom.”
On the way home, the roads were slick from the first winter storm. It was 9:45 p.m. Courtney was seated in the back seat on the passenger side. None of the kids were wearing seat belts. The car had threadbare tires and the 18-year-old driver lost control. The car slid across four lanes of traffic and was struck on the rear passenger side by an SUV. Courtney was killed instantly along with all of her dreams…shattering the lives of her family, friends and devoted boyfriend.
We would like everyone to know that every time we got in the car with Courtney or anyone else, we insisted that they put their seat belt on before we left the driveway and made sure the vehicle was safe. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure everyone in the car has a seat belt on at all times and that the vehicle is safe. We think there is peer pressure to not wear a seat belt, but something needs to change to make the driver more liable. This may have saved our little girl’s life and saved us so much grief.