Don't Text and Drive, A Local Family's Heartbreaking Story
Thousands of local High School students are graduating over the next few days. As they hit the road to celebrate and begin their new lives we're kicking off a new campaign called "Don't Text and Drive." This should be a happy time. But a Brockport family knows everything can change with one little distraction.
Kris Cyr is a Brockport High School Science Teacher, a mother and a passionate supporter of a ban on texting while driving. She never got to see her daughter graduate. "I was able to receive her diploma. I went up on stage and got her diploma."
Shawna Cyr was killed not far from her home. It was a couPle months before her High School graduation in 2006. She had been to two parties that night, she wasn't wearing a seatbelt and she was texting and driving at the time."
The cell phone Shawna was using was returned to her family in an evidence bag. Now part of the memories of a life lost too soon. Kris says she did everything wrong.
Shawna's Father Mark is a retired Brockport Police Officer. Longtime family friend Sgt. Adam Mesiti saw Shawna grow up and watched her die that night. "It was almost like it wasn't real. And then the hardest part having to notify the family and face the family after that it's unexplainable."
Sgt. Mesiti He says ALL the research shows distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving and more people do it. "The pain that you can cause yourself if you get into an accident and get hurt. the pain you can cause your family if you hurt somebody else. And if you do end up hurting somebody else the potential you're going to end up charged criminally and end up going to jail because you had to answer a text, it's just not worth it."
Kris wants everyone to hear her family's heartbreaking story. The message: Don't forget what Shawna did to her loved ones. "This is how your family will feel when you don't come home that night."
Kris says her family has learned a valuable lesson about what's really important in life. But it's not worth the price they paid.
As part of our campaign we're asking viewers to take a Family Pledge to not text and drive. Please enter your name and print the pledge. You'll find great information to start a family conversation about the dangers of distracted driving.
Massachusetts teen convicted of homicide in texting-while-driving case
A Massachusetts teen was convicted Wednesday of homicide as a result of texting while driving and will serve one year in prison.
In a landmark case for the state, Aaron Deveau, 18, was found guilty on charges of vehicular homicide, texting while driving and negligent operation of a motor vehicle in a 2011 crash that fatally injured Donald Bowley, 55, of Danville, New Hampshire, and seriously injured a passenger in Bowley's car.
"I made a mistake," Deveau said Wednesday after his mother told the district court in Haverhill, Massachusetts he would not intentionally hurt anyone. "If I could take it back, I would take it back."
Judge Stephen Abany sentenced the teen to two and a half years on the vehicular homicide charge and two years on the texting and causing injury charge. He will serve one year concurrently on both charges and the balance of both charges is suspended for five years. His license will be suspended for 15 years.
"There are no winners today," Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement. "A beloved grandfather is dead. A once active woman can no longer work and is still racked with pain from her injuries and a young man is going to jail. When we get behind the wheel of a car, we are obligated to drive with care. ... As we saw in this case, in a split second, many lives are forever changed."
In the February 20, 2011, accident, prosecutors said, Deveau's car crossed the center line on a street in Haverhill, which is in northeast Massachusetts near New Hampshire, and hit the vehicle Bowley was driving.
Bowley's girlfriend, Luz Roman, 59, was in his car with him and suffered serious injuries.
Haverhill Detective Thomas Howell testified the impact left the two "almost folded into the floorboards."
Bowley died March 10, 2011, after he was taken off life support.
"My brother received such head trauma that ... there was no hope for him," Bowley's sister, Donna Burleigh, said in court.
Roman talked about the incident's continued impact.
"Loss of sleeping, loss of my boyfriend. So many losses, I can't tell you how many," she told the judge.
Essex Assistant District Attorney Ashlee Logan argued that Deveau may have erased some of his texts or lied to police after the accident about when he was texting.
Deveau said after the crash in a taped interview with police, which was played in court, "I was tired. I was distracted. When I looked away for one quick second, I came too close to her and I was trying to hit my brakes."
His defense lawyer said authorities set out from the beginning to link texting to the crash, a cause-and-effect relationship that he contends is not valid.
Some 38 states ban text messaging for all drivers, while 31 prohibit all cell phone use by "novice drivers," according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association.
Remember Alex Brown
Alex Brown was a young, pretty, West Texas teenage girl with a rich life ahead of her. A quick sequence of events led to her lying in a field - dying.
The 17-year-old's death just over a year ago led to a crusade by her parents to encourage students to buckle up and stop texting.
Jeanne and Johnny Mac Brown travel to high schools around Texas to spread the message, and Tuesday they stopped for an assembly at Navasota High School.
Alex Brown was a senior at Seagraves High School, which is about an hour and a half southwest of Lubbock. Brown was ranked second in her class, but her college credits would have moved her to valedictorian by the end of the year and she would have had enough credits to be a sophomore in college the day she graduated high school.
"She was a good kid," Jeanne told the students at Navasota. "She loved people, no matter who they were or what they were. Everybody loved her."
On Nov. 10, 2009, Alex was running late for one of her college classes because she spent too much time on Facebook that morning, Jeanne said. That led to Alex scrambling so she wouldn't be TOO late for class. She took the more dangerous route to school - the route her parents always discouraged her to take.
Alex didn't buckle her seat belt. And then, while simultaneously carrying on text message conversations with four different friends, her pick-up truck spun out of control and crashed. Alex was thrown from her vehicle into a field. She just laid there, fading into consciousness and back out again, quickly leaving this world.
The state trooper who investigated that accident said that Alex was driving 70 miles per hour before she spun.
The Brown family followed Alex to an emergency room in Lubbock, where Alex died shortly thereafter.
The cell phone was still in the truck - and it still worked. Friends who had heard about the wreck continued to send messages to the phone. Those messages said to hang in there, and that they would come visit her in the hospital. Jeanne held Alex's phone up during Tuesday's assembly for the students to see.
"This phone is replaceable, but we'll never have Alex again," Jeanne said.
38 states ban text messaging for all drivers, while 31 prohibit all cell phone use by "novice drivers."– Governor's Highway Safety Association.