Teen Driver Safety Week hits home for this couple

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – It is the number one killer of teenagers in our country, and we are talking about car crashes, most of which are preventable.

During this Teen Driver Safety Week, KUSI spoke to a mother and a father who lost their son to distracted driving, and they have a powerful message to share.

Ruben and Chela Alvarado’s son, 18 year-old Michael, was on his way home after picking up hamburgers with three friends, when police say he was driving too fast, dropped his phone, reached for it, lost control of the car and hit a tree.

He died instantly.

“He was a momma’s boy. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him,” said Chela. 

“He was the one who was going take care of us,” said Ruben.  “He was the one.” 

The Alvarados’ mission now is to speak for the group, Impact Teen Drivers.

“Our lives have been changed ever since, out here to save one kid at a time if possible. If we save one, we know Michael didn’t die for nothing,” they said..

A message to kids: if you are in a car and the driver is being unsafe, say something.

“I’ve driven with friends, the radios are on full blast, screaming at me trying to talk, windows are down hair in their faces, distracting, reaching behind them, I can’t imagine how we don’t get in accidents sometimes,” said Kara Shevick.

Officer Jake Sanchez said, “It could be as simple as a bunch of teens in a car, whenever you have teens in a car, the more teens in a car the more likelihood of getting in a crash, and losing your life in that crash.”

Young people need to understand life is not a video game, or a zombie or vampire movie.

There is no re-set button. You get one shot. You need to focus on your driving.

“Is that text worth your life? That call? Putting on mascara worth your life? No,” said Chela.

Michael is Chela and Ruben’s angel, until they meet their son again.

“His dad says when I see him I am gonna give him a big ol’ hug,” said Chela.  “I said ‘I hope you go first, because if I go first, I’m gonna kick his ass, then give him a hug.'”

The Alvarados speak up to ten times a month to both kids and parents.

It is the way they get through Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day, all the holidays that are no longer the same.

They just hope to help one family at a time.

Categories: KUSI