Why We’re Here: Kaely Camacho

Early in the morning on Friday, April 13, 2012, Kirk Camacho was driving his two teenage daughters, Bree Ann and Kaely, to school. As the girls slept, Bree Ann, 16, in the front seat and her younger sister Kaely, 13, in the back, a drunk driver with a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit was speeding down a road designated only for busses. He ran a red light and plowed into the Camachos’ minivan at about 100 miles per hour.

The collision tore the minivan in half. Bree Ann and her father survived with injuries, but Kaely, a bright and popular middle school cheerleader, was killed.

After Kaely’s death, there was a huge outpouring of support for the family from the community. In fact, a year later, the street in front of the middle school she attended was re-named in Kaely’s honor.

Soon after the crash, the Miami-Dade police department contacted MADD Miami and asked them to reach out to the Camacho family. They were connected with local MADD Victim Advocates Sally Matson and Helen Witty, who provided emotional support and assistance through the trying legal process.

Kaely and Bree Ann

Now, the Camacho family works with MADD to share Kaely’s story in hopes that no other family has to experience this heartbreak. They speak at several events, including school outreach and law enforcement recognition events. In fact, Kaely’s sister, Bree Ann, changed her major to communications because she is so passionate about sharing her sister’s story and doing everything she can to put an end to drunk driving.

“We were just beginning to realize how similar we were to one another,” Kaely’s sister Bree Ann says. “I will never see Kaely in this world again... because a drunk driver took her from me.”

Both Kaely’s mother, Angie, and step-mother, Vicky, have been very successful fundraisers for the Miami Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash. And this year, “Kaely’s Wingmen” was the top fundraising team at the event, raising nearly $9,000 in Kaely’s honor.