Sadly, last year in Santa Rosa, California, one man took his eyes off the road to look down at his cell phone. Seconds later he plowed his pick-up truck into the back of a Toyota Camry, and crushed the backseat passengers to death.
“I could see him barreling right up on me, and I was terrified,” said Jay Hufford. “I had nowhere to go, and I couldn't if I wanted to, I'm stopped.”The two people killed in the backseat of Jay Hufford's car were his mother, Sharon, and his wife, Sue. His father was in the front seat. How does one deal with something like this? They were all on their way to celebrate Sue's birthday.
The driver who hit the back of the Camry at about 60 mph, was 30-year-old Nicholas Tognozzi. He admitted he was using his cell phone, and it's reported he may have been on marijuana.
“He was looking down at his phone,” said CHP Sgt. Erik Egide. “He was looking down at his phone. He may have been texting, that's still being investigated.” Asked about Tognozzi's degree of impairment, Egide said “It's difficult to know with marijuana until we get results of the chemical test.”Jay Hufford and his father both sustained physical injuries that will most likely heal. How long will it take them to heal emotionally - will they ever? And what about Jay and Sue Hufford's three kids? Jay's message:
“Keep it in your pocket, keep it in your pocket,” said Hufford. “If the thing buzzes, rings, you don't need to get it right now; it can wait.”I selfishly wrote this for myself as well as for others. I need to be reminded, it can wait. My heart goes out to the Huffords, and to the many victims who continue to suffer long after losing their loved ones; and to those who still suffer from serious injuries, all due to this tragic, and very preventable, epidemic.
At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. Get The Facts.Interactive State Law Chart