Alex Trejo with his brother, Zac Estelle, and sister Gabbi Estelle. Zac and Gabbi died in a 2015 crash on I-35 near Fort Worth. Family photo
Alex Trejo with his brother, Zac Estelle, and sister Gabbi Estelle. Zac and Gabbi died in a 2015 crash on I-35 near Fort Worth. Family photo

State Politics

North Texas family’s fight for statewide texting ban ends in victory

By Anna M. Tinsley

atinsley@star-telegram.com

September 01, 2017 11:57 AM

UPDATED September 04, 2017 11:59 AM

Dee Davila-Estelle of North Richland Hills is among those who fought for the new Texas law banning texting and driving that went into effect Friday.

Davila-Estelle and her husband, Kevin, lost two of their three children in a deadly 2015 crash, when their family’s 2011 Ford Fusion was hit from behind on Interstate 35W near Fort Worth by a driver they were told was distracted by his phone while driving.

“This law is so important,” Davila-Estelle said. “People need to understand what texting while you’re driving does. I still see people out there with their phones while they are driving.

“This is common sense. Put your phone down. Don’t drive with your phone in your face.”

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Davila-Estelle — whose two oldest children, Alex, 23, and Gabbi, 19, died in the crash — said this new law will save others.

That’s why she testified before a Texas Senate committee advocating for the ban. And that’s why she wrote Texas Gov. Greg Abbott a letter urging support of this law.

“I want people to know our story and learn from it,” she said. “Having to bury loved ones, having to take care of loved ones, we are out here. It’s a true story and this is a great law for everyone to abide by.

“What is so important on that phone?”

In Texas last year, distracted driving was blamed for 455 fatalities and more than 3,000 serious injuries — as well as 22 deaths and 236 serious injuries in Tarrant County, state records show.

This article includes information from Star-Telegram archives.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley