CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — In an effort to encourage safe driving habits, Chesterfield County Police Department is continuing its “In Memory Of” campaign.
The department released a video and is beginning a week-long traffic enforcement effort in memory of Carlos Pereira III. The 25-year-old died in a crash June 26, 2021.
The traffic enforcement efforts will focus on distracted driving, seat belt use, speeding and impaired driving, according to police.
Pereira was driving north on Courthouse Road when his vehicle veered off the roadway and struck a tree. The Chesterfield native was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The investigation indicated Pereira was distracted by his phone and not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
The video, which premiered on the Chesterfield Police department’s social media channels today in English and in Spanish, featured an interview with Elizabeth Rosario, Pereira’s mother.
Rosario described the impact and aftermath of losing her son.
“He was my baby,” she said. “He was my younger child. He was a family boy. We were all waiting for him outside the movie theater. That night he was the only one who was missing.”
She called him. Pereira answered the phone and told his mom to stay on the phone with him. But she didn’t realize what had happened.
“I started hearing voices talking. I got real nervous. I heard firetrucks, ambulances and officers around. I drove to Courthouse [Road]. As soon as I stopped, I started running when I saw his truck,” she said with tears coming down her face. “I said, ‘Oh my God… it’s Carlito.'”
Rosario, fighting through emotions, said, “he was not wearing his seat belt. That’s why he didn’t make it. Please wear your seat belt and stay away from the phone.”
Police said they are using this initiative to bring a focus to safe driving.
“Wearing your seat belt can significantly reduce your chance of injury or death if you are in a collision,” said Sgt. Stephan Rouze, who leads the department’s Traffic Safety Section.
“The crash that Carlos Pereira was in was survivable,” Rouze continued. “The Chesterfield County Police Department encourages all motorists to put their phone down and to buckle up in Carlos’ memory.”