Crash victim’s family: Use your seat belt

A vigil to remember crash victim Shawn Raak. (Sept. 13, 2014)


CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The family of a man killed in a May crash held a vigil Saturday, which would have been Shawn Raak’s 29th birthday.

“We’re all suffering. Every day we wake up, every day we wish Shawn was here. We wonder what if, every day,” his sister Shilah Dillon said.

On May 28, Raak was ejected in a single-car rollover on 100th Street near Cherry Valley Avenue in Caledonia Township. He was taken to the hospital, but did not survive.

Friends and family gathered Saturday in the field where Raak crashed to remember him.

“Shawn was a son, he was a brother, he was father, he was a loved one,” Dillon said. “His smile — definitely his smile. His smile, his laughter, his goofy personality. His love for life.”

Doctors told Raak’s family he likely would have survived if he had been wearing his seat belt.

In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, more than 3,000 traffic crash victims would have survived if they had they been wearing seat belts.

Raak’s family is now trying to spread that message so other families don’t have to go through a similar loss.

“Every day that goes by, I wonder what it would be like if he was still here. What would he say? What would he be doing?” Dillon said. “Today is his birthday. Who would he be celebrating with?”

Doctors told Raak’s family he suffered major head trauma — something that might not have happened had Shawn been wearing his seatbelt.

“So we’re doing this to raise awareness for the seat belt campaign. If we can get the message out to one family, one person, that’s one family that doesn’t have to go through what we are going through right now,” Dillon said.

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