- August 30, 2012
EAST COUNTY — As Gena Rogers sits at a roadside memorial off State Road 64, near Rye Road, she looks toward two crosses and a display of signs, windmills and memorabilia.
December will mark two years since her son, Josh Rogers, and his best friend, Brett Wagner, died in a car crash near the site.
The boys, then seniors at Lakewood Ranch High School, were ejected from Rogers’ 1994 Chevrolet truck, after a vehicle pulled out in front of them.
Wagner’s cousin, Terran Sanders, walked away from the accident unharmed. He was wearing his seat belt.
“It’s very difficult to say my son would be here if he had been wearing his seat belt,” Rogers said.
To raise awareness of the importance of wearing seat belts, Sarasota and Manatee county law enforcement agencies will participate in the national Click it or Ticket campaign now through Nov. 30.
Rogers says she’s grateful for the campaign, but hopes even more can be done.
“Everyone knows that not wearing their seat belt is a problem and they still choose not to,” Rogers said. “Statistics don’t change your mind. But emotions do.”
Gena Rogers pulls her son’s wrecked truck to events, such as the Nov. 22 FFA fundraiser at Braden River High, to educate the public on seat belt safety through Bubba Saves Lives, the organization she and Wagner’s mom, Debbie Wagner, founded following the accident.
Rogers hopes the idea can be expanded at other college campuses nationwide.
“Click It or Ticket is a huge start, but we have to take it a step farther,” she said.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].