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Family wants database of emergency contacts after son dies in Hamilton County accident

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Joey Harris

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A Westfield family’s tragedy has inspired a bill that would create a statewide emergency contact database to help police officers reach families quicker when their loved one is involved in a serious accident.

Joey Harris was just 22 years old when an accident took his life in Hamilton County, but he didn’t die immediately. Joey was taken to a local hospital and although he was unconscious, he was alive for several hours. His mother wishes she could’ve spent those precious hours by his side.

“My son died with strangers by him, thinking that maybe, why weren’t we with him?” asked Julia Harris.

She said she wasn’t notified of her son’s accident until after he’d died. She was only a few miles away, unaware, as he lay on a hospital bed dying.

“I don’t want anybody, anybody in this world to have to go through what we went through.”

Her family’s story inspired Rep. Tony Cook (R-District 32) to author a bill that would create a statewide database of emergency contacts for drivers.

If it’s passed, Hoosiers could voluntarily give the BMV their emergency contact information so if they are ever involved in a serious accident, police don’t waste precious moments searching for someone to call.

“That was a driving force with both police and the BMV locking arms with me to make this come to fruition,” said Cook.

The House passed Cook’s bill. It will now be heard on the Senate floor.

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