EDGEWATER, MD (WUSA9) - The stories we tell on Valentine’s Day are usually ones of love – of joy, not tribulation.
The story of Kayla and Dan Amos is a story about all of it.
The couple lost their lives in a car crash on Valentine’s Day of 2016.
Their family says they were driving home from dinner, after celebrating their six month anniversary.
For the first time, both of their parents are speaking out about their lives and their death.
"She was just the perfect child,” said Kayla’s mother, Jacki Cosner.
“[She] never cried about anything was quiet and ate and loved to sit and read books and watch movies.”
She also loved music, and Cosner says that is what drew Kayla to Dan. She saw him for the first time playing the guitar at Chesapeake Church.
They fell in love before they were old enough to drink, and at twenty and twenty-one – they said I do.
Cosner says Dan asked her husband if he could propose.
"My husband was like we love you - you really don’t [need to ask] and he said no I'm going to be over in an hour and ask for her hand,” she said. “We were just thrilled with it."
Dan’s father says his family was as well.
“[Dan] knew what he wanted, and went after it,” said Kevin Amos.
Their happiness was short lived.
Amos says he remembers the police coming to his door.
"They just started talking about his car - because I was on the registration. That's how they tracked me down. They said are you familiar with this car. I’m like yes that's my son’s car - yes I know - and then he just said it. He just said there's been an accident and Daniel didn't survive. Just out of the blue. It was just horrible."
He knew Kayla was with his son, but the police didn’t know where to find her family.
"She's married,” Cosner explained. “They weren't looking for a Cosner."
Kayla was at the hospital, but in critical condition.
When Cosner arrived at Baltimore Shock Trauma she says doctors pulled her to the side and told her Kayla’s injuries were not “survivable.”
“She had severe brain damage,” Cosner said. "Things were slowing down and we knew we were just buying time… My daughter just said, Mom, ‘Dan's just in the corner waiting and we're holding her up. Because they need to be together.’"
A few months later, police arrested Lauren Renee Scott and charged her with two counts of homicide by motor vehicle.
According to charging documents, Scott tested positive for marijuana and opiates.
At the time of her arrest, her attorney told WUSA9 Scott intended to plead not guilty on all counts.
Dan and Kayla’s family hope their story is a reminder.
"When you think it can never happen to you,” Amos said, “yes it can. Yes it can - on every side of the equation… You can be the one that gets the knock on the door. You could be the one that could have prevented that person from getting in the car. Please don't think it can't. Please take every precaution."
A year later, there is still darkness and pain, but for both families there's also an understanding: that it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
The light left behind because of the way Kayla and Dan lived isn't going away.
Reading from a letter she wrote to the pair, Dan’s mother, Ingrid Leonard said, “I can't say that I understand why you're gone, but I understand what I'm supposed to do in your absence. I understand the importance of serving, of giving, of compassion and purpose. Those are the things that you both did, seemingly effortlessly. I understand what is required of me in my time on this earth. I miss you both very much, but I understand.”
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