Local News

Fourteen Seconds Change Moore County Mother's Life

Posted July 16, 2001 2:07 a.m. EDT

— A phone call from a highway patrol dispatcher is a call no parent ever wants to answer. It could mean a son or daughter has been injured or killed in a crash. A Moore County woman got that call two years ago, and she is still coping with the grief of losing a daughter.

Michelle Peele remembers how a mistake that lasted 14 seconds took the life of her daughter. On March 5, 1999, Morgan went out driving with three friends as passengers when one of her friends turned up the heat.

"She unbuckled her seat belt and took off her coat while she was driving," she says.

When another friend complained about the music, Morgan leaned over to change the radio and tilted the steering wheel. She lost control of the vehicle and the car flipped.

"The other three girls were in seat belts. They rode out the flip," she says. "They say she was without her seat belt for 14 seconds."

Morgan died the next day from head injuries. The tragedy left Morgan's family in shock. Her mother poured out her feelings on paper. It later became a book called "Glimpses of God". Money from the book is given to organ donation programs. Morgan was an organ donor.

"She was able to give new life to eight people and a better quality of life to numerous people. She's still giving a better quality of life to people," she says.

Since the accident, Peele has been speaking to drivers education classes, warning teenagers about the possible dangers associated with driving.

"Speaking to the drivers' ed classes is almost like the least I can do. Someone said, 'How can you do it? I said, how can I not do it,'" she says.

Two weeks and two days before Morgan Peele died, She told her family she wanted to be an organ donor. Her mother has learned that it's not enough to list organ donor on your drivers' license. You must also make it known to loved ones.