Family believes seat belts would have prevented tragic deaths of mother and 10-year-old son

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Northland couple wants to remind drivers that seat belts can be a life saver, after a crash killed their daughter and 10-year-old grandson last week in Cameron, Mo.

Desari Lathrop and Savion Spearman-Lathrop

Many at Prairie Point Elementary School remember Savion Spearman-Lathrop as a bright and talkative child.

Savion and his mother, Desari Lathrop, were traveling home from Chicago when their car struck a tractor trailer being towed during the overnight hours.

FOX4 viewers may remember Savion and his mother in the news three years ago, when a couple of Kansas City police officers picked up the boy and gave him a ride to school.

Savion had been waiting for about two hours for a bus that never showed up.

His grandparents said Savion made a good impression on everyone he met, but they believe had he and his mom been wearing their seat belts, they would have survived the horrible crash on U.S. Highway 36. Only the boy's sister, 3-year-old Ariana Hill, survived the wreck. Rescue crews found her strapped safely in her car seat.

"From what the report says, our daughter was partially ejected from the car," said Dietrick Lathrop, a truck driver who says he often preaches about the importance of wearing seat belts to his family. "From what she (Ariana) told us, her brother was under his seat so they were, we draw the conclusion they were pretty much thrown around when the vehicle flipped."

Desari Lathrop had recently moved to Manhattan, Kansas where she worked as an assistant manager for a cell phone provider. She was bringing her children to live together as a family when tragedy cut short her promising plans.

The family is still hoping to learn more about how the crash happened. Funeral services for mother and child are scheduled Saturday at 11 a.m. at Serenity Funeral Home, 1101 Bannister Road, with a gathering to follow at 1 p.m. at Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church, 7600 NW Barry Road.

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