A local family is speaking out about the importance of wearing seat-belts after their son was involved in an accident.
"Keep speaking to your teens about wearing their seat-belts and driving safely without distractions," says Rick Mills after his son, who was not wearing a seat-belt, was in a terrible accident that left him fighting for his life.
On December 26, 2020, 17-year-old Sam Mills finished up his shift at Chik-Fil-A, but never made it home.
"We weren't sure what happened and we get a call on our door that basically said your son has been in a terrible accident," says Rick Mills.
Sam Mills' car had flipped over, and because he wasn't wearing his seat belt, he was ejected from his car.
Sam had to be airlifted to the hospital.
"We're literally 10 minutes from work and he was probably going to come home, grab a bite to eat and then go see some friends on a Saturday night after Christmas. He was in a rush probably and didn't buckle it in," says Rick Mills.
Thanks to community support and a lot of prayer, Sam has been making an incredible recovery.
In the last week, he's opened his eyes, started speaking and began taking his first steps.
"I know he's a fighter and he loves challenging himself...I'm just thankful, I'm thankful I still have my son," says his mother, Carrie Mills.
But others aren't so lucky.
According to TXDOT, not wearing your seat-belt increases your chances of dying during a crash by 55% for people in the front seat of a car.
In Texas in 2019, there were 2,629 crashes in which people without their seat-belts either died or were seriously hurt.
Ninety of which were in McLennan county.
"The main message is that, buckling up whenever you get in a vehicle is automatically going to make you safer. I think for motorists heading on the roadways this weekend and as the winter weather approaches. We can make our roadways safer and we can get to our destination," says Jake Smith, the TXDOT spokesperson for the Waco District.
Sam's parents say he still has weeks of physical therapy before they can figure out when he can come home.
If you'd like to help, click link here for his GoFundMe.