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Family of New Year’s Crash Victim Gets Sign Put Up in his Memory

SCRANTON, Pa. — New Year’s Eve is typically a cause for celebration, but for one family in Lackawanna County, it’s a reminder of a tragedy the...

SCRANTON, Pa. -- New Year's Eve is typically a cause for celebration, but for one family in Lackawanna County, it's a reminder of a tragedy the night they lost their 30-year-old son and brother. This year, they're doing something special to honor his memory.

Conrad Thiel crashed his car on Davis Street in 2018, just about one hour into the new year. Thiel died at a hospital.

"He was just full of life and his life was just cut too short," said Stephanie Thiel, about her younger brother. "He honestly was 30 seconds away from home. He lived in Taylor, right over the bridge."

Conrad was the youngest of six siblings. Stephanie says her brother's presence at holiday parties and family gatherings was always a welcome one -- he'd come with a funny story and be the life of the party.

Now, just before we ring in 2020, the family gathers with nothing else but his memory.

The memorial is still at the spot where Conrad's car crashed two years ago. His family tells us he wasn't wearing a seatbelt when it happened.

"I know 100 percent my brother would still be here if he wore his seat belt. I just want people to be aware that it takes two seconds, two seconds to just put your seatbelt on and it could save your life. I know he'd still be here, I'm 100 percent positive that he would still be here if he wore his seatbelt," Stephanie said.

That's why the Thiel family asked PennDOT to put up a sign near where the crash happened to remind drivers to buckle up.

"If we can save one life with the sign, it makes people pay attention to the message. The message is to wear your seatbelt all the time," said PennDOT official Michael Taluto.

The Thiel family tells us many of them have to drive by the crash scene every day. They hope this sign will also help them heal.

"He would definitely want this. He would definitely want this. We miss him so much; New Year's Eve will never be the same for us."