Turning Heartbreak into Action - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Turning Heartbreak into Action

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SEAFORD, De. - November 23, 2011 is a date that will forever follow Nils Mulford, and the rest of his family. On that day, he lost his daughter to a car accident in the Seaford area. He didn't know it then, but that tragedy would be a call to action, all in the name of preventing future heartbreak for other families. 

Just south of Seaford, where Ockels Road and Airport Road meet Route 13, sits a memorial for Alexis Brielle Mulford. When she was just 16-years old, she lost her life when a car in her blind spot hit her car. It's been nearly three years, but for her Mulford, the wounds are still very fresh. 

"My emotion is love," he said as he looked through old photos. "I miss - I miss my little girl."

Mulford couldn't help but tear up as he looked at the photos of his beloved daughter Monday morning. By his daughter's memorial, he told WBOC about the hospital visit, where he found out his daughter had passed away. 

"I've got a doctor telling me 'you just need to sit down,'" he said. "'You need to sit down.' I told her 'No. I need to see my daughter. Just - tell me where my daughter is.' And she says 'your daughter didn't make it.'"

Mulford said that for a long time after that day, he was lost, searching for any meaning in such a seemingly inexplicable death of a girl so young. Then he said he found a sign while driving through Salisbury months later. 

"As I start to go across the intersection there," he said. "I see this 'Look Again' sign. And I'm like this is the sign for my daughter."

Mulford said that he made calls about these signs to various county leaders, state lawmakers, and even the Department of Transportation. He found out that these signs are prevalent in Maryland, but very rare in Delaware. For two years, he fought to bring these signs to the first state, hoping that they could save other families from similar accidents. 

That's when he met a pair of public officials, Bob Wheatley the chairman of county Planning and Zoning Commission and State Senator Robert Venables (D - District 21). A couple years later, the signs became a reality, as six were placed at the intersection where the young girl lost her life. 

"It took a lot of phone calls," Venables said. "And a lot of emails back and forth to finally convince them that there was not too many signs up there." 

Venables met up with WBOC at the memorial site, and said that the issue was personal for him as well. More than 40 years before Mulford's accident, Venables said he lost his son to a separate vehicle accident. He said the signs would be worthwhile if it saved even one life.

"It's the hardest hit that any person will ever take," he said of losing a child.

Mulford said that these signs would be far more than just a tribute to his daughter. He said that they've lead to an accident rate decrease of approximately 40 percent on dangerous intersections in Maryland. Now he hopes that this drop will come to the first state as well. 

"It's never about who you lose," he said. "It's what you try to prevent. And this is something that can be prevented. And it's up to us to try and prevent it. As parents. As adults." 

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