Chicago Auto Show: 'Jenna's Joy' red Camaro memorial warns about danger of distracted driving

Christian Piekos Image
Saturday, February 17, 2024
Auto Show red Camaro memorial warns about danger of distracted driving
There is a red Camaro memorial at the Chicago Auto Show for Jenna Protz, among four killed in a 2019 Montgomery County, IL distracted driving crash.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Glistening under the bright Chicago Auto Show lights, a sleek red Chevy Camaro stands out with an important message to drive home in honor of four killed in a downstate Illinois crash.

Brenda Protz is the founder of "Jenna's Joy," which aims to educate drivers of all ages about the dangers of distracted driving. She said it is an epidemic that has forever changed her life.

"This device does not need to be going when you're driving," Protz said. "You don't need to be taking that video. You don't need to make that latest thing to get the most likes on TikTok."

No parent should ever be burying their child at any age
Brenda Protz, mother

Protz said her 14-year-old daughter Jenna and her 14-year-old friend Holly, along with Jenna's grandparents, were leaving a football game in downstate Montgomery County, Illinois in November of 2019. All four were killed when another car crossed the median and hit their vehicle head-on.

"Jenna was pure sunshine, which is why our logo contains the sun, because if you were around Jenna, you were definitely going to smile," Protz said.

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Protz said the 17-year-old driver of the other vehicle was allegedly distracted.

"No parent should ever be burying their child at any age," Protz said. "I don't want their families to get the calls that we got or find out the things that we found out."

Nearly five years after the crash, Protz is living life for Jenna and hoping her heart-wrenching experience saves lives and spreads kindness and love to everyone she encounters at the Auto Show.

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"She truly was pure human sunshine," Protz said.