COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Lisa Eller remembers “I love you” being the last words she said to her son.
“I wish I could have him back,” Eller said.
On February 15th, her 16-year-old son Layton Proffitt died in a car crash.
“He hit the gravel,” Eller said. “It just flipped it, and they hit a tree.”
“The state troopers started walking towards me, and I knew then and I just.. I lost it,” the mother said.
“It’s like a bad nightmare that I can’t wake up from.”
It’s a nightmare more parents are having according to new statewide numbers.
Ninety-five people died this year in car crashes involving teen drivers, according to the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.
That’s nearly double from the 57 deaths from the same time last year.
“That’s not a call you want to get,” Eller said. “Staying up all night.”
To curb the deadly trend, THSO is giving grants to at least five nonprofits and agencies in middle Tennessee for teen driver safety programs.
“I’m thankful we have the money for these programs because we need it,” Eller said. “The safer, the better.”
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and Sumner Teen Center are just a few of the agencies to receive grants.
“Whatever education kids can get, give it to them,” Eller said.
Although Eller says her son died in a freak accident, she hopes the new effort will keep other families from going through the pain she’s lived through.
“I really don’t want anybody to ever feel like this,” she said.