WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — A Newport News mom is turning her pain into power. After losing her 16-year-old son in a car crash in 2019, she’s on a mission to help teenage drivers navigate the roads safely, by changing state law.
Tammy McGee said her son Conner Guido was a passenger in a speeding, high-performance vehicle driven by an underage teen. All three boys in the car died when the car crashed into a tree. Since then, she’s been lobbying for new laws to protect young drivers in Virginia.
"You know my last words to Conner that night weren't even really words, they were what we always did to each other and I did that and kinda went back right at him and he knew I had him," said McGee.
But the night of October 26, 2019, everything changed. Conner Guido died in a car crash after leaving his high school homecoming dance.
"I got a call from Conner's girlfriend and she said, 'Ms. Tammy, there's been an accident,' and at that second I knew he was gone," said McGee.
Now, McGee is an advocate for change to honor her son. Conner's mom got a law passed last year in her son's name that requires all public schools in Virginia to mandate teens have a driver's license to get a parking permit on school grounds.
"What happened to him shouldn't have happened it was wrong, it was preventable," said McGee.
For months she lobbied for Conner's Law to be passed, but McGee said that's not enough. Now she's fighting for Senate Bill 78 which will mandate parents and teens to take a 90-minute driver's ed course together.
"The reason that this is so important is that parents need to know the rules for safe driving in the state of Virginia, and over these past 2 years what I've learned is parents are confused about the laws around teenage driving or they don't know them," said McGee.
News 3 asked McGee if she thinks 90 minutes is enough.
"I don't think 90 minutes is enough, but I'm going to take what I can get right now because right now we have nothing. Right now parents don't know the rules, some know the rules, some don't but what we don't have is a mandate that parents must be involved in their teenagers' driving education" said McGee.
McGee said while it’s too late to help her son, it isn’t too late to help others.
"I know Conner's proud of me. I know he's looking down on me, thanking me for saving other teenagers and other parents from going through what we've been through" said McGee.
Senate Bill 78 was unanimously passed in the senate Monday and will go before the house next.