Remembering Seagraves Senior Alex Brown - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Remembering Seagraves Senior Alex Brown

Alex Brown Alex Brown
Remember Alex Brown truck Remember Alex Brown truck
Jeanne and Katrina Brown Jeanne and Katrina Brown
SEAGRAVES, TX (KCBD) - On November 10, 2009, 17-year-old Alex Brown was headed to school. 

It was the first day of basketball season and she had a scrimmage that night, it would have been the first scrimmage of her senior year.

When Alex did not make it to school, her mother, Jeanne Brown, began searching for her daughter. 

Jeanne said she found Alex in a field, she had rolled her truck. Jeanne said Alex was still breathing, but died later at the hospital. What Alex's family later learned was that Alex had been texting while behind the wheel. 

Just weeks after Alex's death, the Brown family started a nonprofit called the Remember Alex Brown Foundation. Now, they travel across the country sharing their story and speaking at schools about the danger of texting and driving. The family also takes the wreckage of Alex's truck on the journey in hopes that the visual impact will help save lives. 

Word traveled fast about the Brown's loss and their mission, eventually making it's way to national television attracting the attention of big names like Oprah Winfrey, which is how they became a recipients of a new home from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

"We never really believed it would happen. You know, small town America what's the odd of somebody like that showing up at your house, at your doorstep?" Jeanne said with a smile. 

Along with their beautiful home, a full college scholarship was provided for Alex's younger sister Katrina. 

The family also received a donation to help their mission to end texting while driving. 

"Alex was one of those kids that no one would ever have believed this could have happened to her," Jeanne said. 

Which is why Katrina said it is so important her peers and drivers in general, that they are not invincible.

Jeanne said they were able to travel on donations for about three years, but are now having to charge. 

"My husband made the commitment that we would continue to travel until we ran out of money or people quit calling. Well, we've run out of money, but people are still willing to pay," Jeanne said.

Katrina was just 11-years-old when her sister died, now she is 16-years-old. 

"It's tough especially being the younger one because next year I don't know what I'm going to do turning 17 and then turning 18 and turning older than my big sister," Katrina said, a teenager forced to grow up much more quickly than her peers. 

"I thought I had to take care of my mom or my dad or something like that and I wasn't the baby of the family anymore. I had to grow up and yeah, I grew up a lot," Katrina said. 

"You'll always be the baby," Jeanne said as she sat next to her daughter. 

Despite having a new home, scholarship money, and the like, nothing will take the place of what the Browns have lost.

"Absolutely not," Jeanne said.

"I would trade it in a second, in a heartbeat and I would live in a box on the side of the road to have my sister back," Katrina said.

The message is clear. 

"Whatever is on that phone, it isn't worth it. It isn't worth your life, it isn't worth putting your family through and your friends through what all of us have had to deal with and are still dealing with," Katrina cried. 

In 2011, Representative Tom Craddick introduced a bill that would ban texting while driving; the bill was named after Alex Brown. Governor Rick Perry vetoed the bill, dismissing it as a misguided government effort to "micromanage" the behavior of adult drivers. 

Representative Craddick's office confirms they plan on introducing a new and similar bill that will ban text base communication on handheld wireless devices while driving, it too will be named after Alex Brown. 

The pre-filing for this legislation is on November 10, the anniversary of Alex's death.

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