A year after the tragic death on Apr. 13, 2012 of Southwood Middle School student Kaely Camacho, killed by a drunk driver who struck her family’s vehicle, the Village of Palmetto Bay unveiled a street sign honoring her.
To commemorate her accomplishments on the anniversary date of the heartbreaking accident the village council voted at the beginning of April to codesignate the roadway at SW 80th Avenue and 162nd Street in honor of her. At the ceremony outside Southwood Middle School on Apr. 12 Kaely’s family and friends watched in somber reflection as Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and other members of the council removed the tarp covering the new sign.
Kaely’s mother, Angela Camacho, was pleased by the sign honoring her daughter. She thought it was in the best possible spot.
“I really wanted the location to be near the school she attended and hopefully always be a reminder for kids of the tragedy that can come out of drinking and driving,” Angela Camacho said. “The timing could not have been better, since it was the day before the one year anniversary of when it happened.
“I had family in town, who had come in especially for the weekend because it had been a year, and so many of her friends were there, who were always so supportive, wearing special T-shirts.”
Kaely’s accomplishments were truly remarkable for one so young, having been the assistant editor of the yearbook, an honor roll student, and a member of the National Junior Honor Society. She also did volunteer work for the Special Olympics in 2011, was a regular volunteer at Christ Fellowship Church, and served as a Coral Reef Bronco’s cheerleader.
In the past year her family, friends and the students at Southwood Middle School have raised more than $21,000 to donate to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in her memory.
With her daughter’s promising future cut tragically short by one person’s reckless disregard for others, Angela Camacho said she can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to do whatever they can to prevent drunk driving, so that other families don’t needlessly suffer the loss of a loved one.
“I’m hoping that people will look out for others, look out for friends if they’re with them,” she said. “If you notice that they’re drunk, don’t let them get behind the wheel.”