Mother of teen killed while texting & driving fights for bill to pass

Mother of teen killed while texting & driving fights for bill to pass
Jeanne Brown (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
Jeanne Brown (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
Alex's pickup (Source: KCBD)
Alex's pickup (Source: KCBD)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A beautiful, painful reminder showed up on Jeanne Brown's Facebook at the perfect time Thursday morning.

"It's a picture of the pearly gates opening up, and my daughter is waving at everybody from heaven…and it was just beautiful," Brown said. "There's no way Facebook knows that this is the day her bill went before the House Transportation Committee."

The Texas House of Representatives unanimously stood against texting while driving later that day, when they voted to pass House Bill 62 onto the debate phase.

That came as a relief to Brown, who has fought for lawmakers to make texting and driving illegal for seven years. She will be there when the Senate debates this bill on Monday.

"The first time it made it through the house and the senate and ended up on Governor Perry's desk, he vetoed it," Brown said. "He felt like it was micromanaging our behavior."

However, Brown believes a law like this would prevent accidents like the one her daughter Alex Brown had in November 2009.

"At 9:30 a.m., the aide came to come find me and said, 'Is Alex supposed to be at school today?'," Brown said, "and I was like, 'Yeah…'. So I started trying to get in touch with her and I couldn't get her to answer her phone."

Alex had rolled her pickup, for a reason Brown cannot understand.

"She was texting three friends on the way to school that morning," Brown said. "She was speeding, and she had chosen to not wear a seatbelt."

Brown was the first person to find her daughter after she had been thrown from her pickup.

"I started looking and she was laying several yards from her truck, unconscious," Brown said. "Every once in a while she would come to…and, of course, she couldn't talk. The damage was too severe."

Alex was airlifted to the hospital, but she died at 17 years old.

"It was such a devastating thing to lose her," Brown said.

But through her tears, Brown made a decision at the hospital.

"We would put her truck on a trailer and we would talk to anyone who would listen to us, to warn them about how dangerous it is to text and drive," Brown said. "It started a long journey of traveling all across our nation."

Word traveled fast.

"We've been to Wyoming, Vermont, and everywhere in between telling our story," Brown said. "Our story has been on Oprah Winfrey show, and Extreme Makeover made it worldwide. We still get emails from other countries."

Alex would be 25 today, and all these years later, Brown hopes this time lawmakers will listen to her plea.

"People's children are dying," she said. "Don't feel sorry for us. Help us fix a problem."

To find out ways to support Brown's mission to make texting and driving illegal, visit

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