Stories From People Like YouThe stories below were submitted by people who’s lives were affected by a texting and driving accident. They were not altered or edited. Some are short, some are long but all show the personal price that people pay and the tragedies that people face because of texting and driving.
Kena H“I lost my best friend, who was also my baby brother on Sept.11, 2010 due to distracted driving, so your message hits home hard for me. My brother, a single father of 2, was my next door neighbor every morning we would leave for work around the same time, now every morning I leave my driveway in tears knowing that a matter of a few seconds changed so many lives. When my brother won custody of his children he ask to build a home on my property next to me to “help” him with his soon to be teenage daughter. I was thrilled to have them so close, all my daughters would soon be off at college, so having him and the children there was great. Now their empty home is as much a curse as it was once a blessing. If only he would not have been distracted for the few short seconds. His fiancé was in the truck with him, when he seen they was going to flip she said he wrapped himself around her. She survived with minor cuts and scrapes, however her scars are emotional, she was pinned in the vehicle under my brother for a couple hours. That was just the type of person CJ was, although he was driving and took his eyes off the road for a matter of seconds CJ died saving someone he loved, to me he is a hero and that is what I tell his children.”
Keri B“The reason this is sooo important to me and for this area is that just a few weeks ago we lost a teacher from one of the high schools. She was heading from home to the school here in Dalton and she was texting on a straight area of the highway. At that moment an 18 wheeler was coming off the breakdown lane back onto the highway and she hit his flatbed trailer. She never knew what hit her never even hit her brakes. She was very well loved by her students. Her name was Demara R.”
Megan D“My godson, Enzo Williams, recently died in a car accident, he was 6 months and 15 days old. They were waiting to turn left at a red light and the driver who hit them was texting and not paying attention.”
Cynthia HATLANTA – One local woman is sharing her story about the loss of her son in order to save the lives of others.
She is determined to warn teens about the dangers of distracted driving. Cynthia Williams takes her message wherever she goes. “I knew it was needed to share my story with every child I ran into because if it takes me to be a soldier by myself, I won’t let other parents feel what I felt,” said Cynthia Williams.
She says she’ll never forget what she felt the day her son, Christopher Williams, 17, was killed in a car accident. “I didn’t realize how severe it was until I saw the paramedics say, ‘I don’t usually get them this young, I don’t like what I saw,’” said Williams. “I knew when I saw him in the emergency room it was over.”
Christopher was a passenger in the car, his cousin was driving. And Williams says her niece was distracted — texting and speeding. “I just believe she just lost control and because of her not being an experienced driver, she didn’t know what to do,” said Williams.
“Once you get behind that wheel, please remove yourself because you don’t have control. I know you think you do that’s why you eat while you’re driving and text while you’re driving because to you, you have control. But you don’t,” said Williams.
Helpless is how Williams felt the day she had to take her son off of life support, but she says his death will save countless lives. “I got to keep his tragedy turned into a triumph so other kids will know this doesn’t have to happen to you,” said Williams.
Written by Teresa Breen – JB’s mom
My son, John Breen – JB as we called him, thought he was invincible.
He was 23, a United States Marine and he was about ready to deploy to Afghanistan. He was willing to sacrifice his life for our country. It wasn’t war that took JB from us. It wasn’t a bullet or a bomb. It was a text message sent on a little 2” x 4” box that ended his life on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
JB spent March 15, 2009 with his family in St. Francisville, IL, before deploying to Afghanistan. That night, while driving, JB was texting with a friend. He lost control of his vehicle and veered off the road. He was ejected from the vehicle and died from a massive skull fracture.
JB left behind parents, a brother, and countless friends who all miss him terribly. But what hurts most, JB has a beautiful two-year-old little girl who will never fully understand what an amazing man her daddy was.
JB knew better. In fact, not 24 hours before his crash his father warned him to “Put that phone down – it’s controlling your life.” Yet, he still chose to text while driving. And he/we paid the ultimate price. No parent should have to go through the pain that we went through and continue to go through each and every day.
Now when I see people driving while using their phones or texting I get so angry. I would just like to pull them over and tell them about JB – and how what happened to JB can happen to them too. Cell phone use while driving is an epidemic. Until enough people demand change we are all in danger.
I have emailed Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood several times about this matter and spoke with him at the 2011 Distracted Driving Summit. I also have spoken to several Illinois Congressmen about this deadly issue. As a parent who has already experienced loss, legislation cannot come soon enough. Something has to be done and quickly! How many more people have to die? How many more families have to suffer needlessly?
I now dedicate my time to sharing JB’s story with people of all ages. I share what has happened to us and how it can be prevented. I have made T-shirts and wristbands that we wear almost everyday.
Anytime a call comes in while I am driving it goes right to my voice mail. Text messages go unread and unanswered. My voice mail message clearly states that I am either on another call or driving and that I will respond as soon as I pull over. NO TEXT IS WORTH IT – NO TEXT!
JB’s last text: yeah t
Take a look at the last text message you sent or received. Is that what you want people to remember you by? Is that message worth more than your life or someone else’s life? I assure you my granddaughter wouldn’t think so.