Villa Grove Community Starts 'Caitlin's Challenge' to End Distracted Driving

Don't text and drive -- a message people across Illinois are pledging almost a week after a 10-year-old Camargo girl died in a car crash. (WCCU)

Don't text and drive -- it's a message people across Illinois are pledging almost a week after a 10-year-old Camargo girl died in a car crash, and the community is showing the girl's family overwhelming support after the tragedy.

10-year-old Caitlin Conner lost her life last Thursday, June 8 in a car crash that happened on Interstate 57. Police said the driver at fault was distracted behind the wheel.

Community members from Villa Grove and friends of the family have been raising money and challenging people to stay off the phones while driving.

Supporters have raised more than $23,000 for the Conner family after the fatal car crash.

“Caitlin was super sweet she was the shy kid you could meet, but most just knew her just as the sweetest, kindest, most caring person," Caitlin's former teacher, Angela Coady said.

Police said the car Caitlin was riding in was rear-ended by a distracted driver.

“It just took off," family friend, Nikki Niemann said. "I mean the community just really came together."

The Villa Grove community started "Caitlin’s challenge" on Facebook.

"Put your phones down, no texting while driving, don't Facebook, social media or anything."

It's a way to honor and remember Caitlin by taking the challenge to not use electronic devices while driving.

"If that's one positive thing that can come out of Caitlin's death it's saving the life of someone else," Neimann said.

A family friend also started a GoFundMe to help raise funds for medical expenses for the Conner's other daughter and her grandmother who is still in the hospital, and also funeral expenses for Caitlin.

"Everything you do can affect so many people whether it's a positive thing or a negative and just always try to do the right thing and there's so many times that we could make mistakes and do things that we shouldn't and i think it's just really important to get Caitlin's challenge out there so that we can help anyone and prevent this type of situation from happening somewhere else."

Neiman organized a meal train where many people have prepared meals sending their support to the family during a tough time.

"I'm amazed at how our community has really come together at a time like this and I think it's great," Neimann said. "And I think the Conners really appreciate it and it just shows how small towns just really stick together."

"Something good has to come from this heartbreaking tragedy." Caitlin's dad shared on social media.

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