WINCHESTER, Va., (WUSA) -- "It has gotten a lot of people talking which is what I wanted," says Jenelle Embrey.
To understand why Jenelle wantedgraphic billboards placed along the highway, we have to take you back to Interstate 81 near Winchester, Virginia.
"Their back end was in the guardrail when I saw it burning," she says.
October 5th of last year, Jenelle and her dad jumped into his new PT Cruiser and joined the legions of drivers traveling that stretch of road.
Behind them, Heather Santor drove her son, Zachary, and a friend, Acoye Breckenridge,in her 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
It was Columbus Day weekend, and the boys were coming home from college for a break.
Embrey says, "We never even got up to speed. We saw the traffic jam immediately."
But apparently, the driver of a big rig did not. He took his eyes off the road, and plowed into the back of Heather's Jeep Grand Cherokee going 65 miles an hour. The force pushed the Jeep into the vehicle carrying Jenelle and her dad.
"Everybody was alive. We were all equally alive," Jenelle Embrey says.
Until, she says, she noticed a small fire in the back of the Jeep. A fire that quickly grew.
"The fire just went from the back of the vehicle to the front. Zachary was standing there, and of course, he's screaming, Mom! Mom! And, she just burned to death right in front of us, as well as the kid in the back," Embrey says.
We've been following the investigation into deadly crashes involving late model Jeep Grand Cherokee's since 2010.
TheCenter for Auto Safety believes the safety of the plastic gas tanks in these 1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees can lead to fires and deaths. In these models, the gas tank is located behind the rear axle, literally in the crush zone of the vehicle.
"I wanted it to resemble what really happens. That image is actually quite sugar coated."
The mother of two is holding down two jobs to spread the word about fiery crashes that take lives.
She has invested thousands of dollars of her own money to try and warn people about the safety concerns of these vehicles. Jenelle says, "When I saw the horrible death of Heather Santor and Acoye Breckenridge, it took me a while to figure out what I could do to make their death somehow meaningful."
She hopes their loss and the images on the three billboards she purchased will motivate people to sign her petition onchange.org calling on the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and Chrysler to get these vehicles off the road.
Last year, NHTSA expanded their investigation into the 1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees to include 1993 to 2001 Jeep Cherokees and the 2002 to 2007 Jeep Liberty models.
In 2005, Chrysler moved the gas tank in the Grand Cherokee ahead of the rear axle. The company says it did so to make more room for cargo space.
While the government investigation into accidents like these goes on, the non-profit Center for Auto Safety continues to compile more accidents, that include not just late model Jeep Grand Cherokees, but late model Cherokees and Jeep Liberty models, too.
"They are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road should you have the misfortune of being hit from behind by another vehicle," saysClarence Ditlow.
Ditlow heads up the Center for Auto Safety. He hopes Jenelle's activism gets the public to pressure Chrysler to act.
"Jenelle is one of a kind. And, if that's what it takes to get Chrysler to pay attention and recall the cars, I mean, I cannot say enough good things about Jenelle," Ditlow says.
"I can't stand to see something so horribly wrong and not do something about it. And, regardless of whether my efforts are fruitful, at least I tried," Jenelle Embrey says.
Jenelle hasclose to 6,500signatures now. She hopes others will join her cause.
(*Since this story aired on Friday, May 24, 2013 - the signatures on Jenelle's petition have grown from 6,477 to over 100,000 by Monday, May 27th.)
Just this week, the Center for Auto Safety sent another letter to Chrysler.
It included pictures of three children, all of them burned to death in separate crashes, when the late model Jeep Grand Cherokee they were riding in was struck from behind.
Chrysler stands behind these SUVs and their safety.
We're still waiting to find out when and what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will decide about the safety of these vehicles