One of the truly tragic realities of texting while driving (or TWD) that we have seen time and time again over the course of our outreach work is the widespread damage and far-reaching effects caused by this dangerous practice. Indeed, accidents resulting from texting while driving impact so many more people than just the texter or the victims involved. Oftentimes, it seems as if the heaviest or deepest consequences and after-effects of TWD are carried by those closest to the victims—the friends, families, and loved ones who receive that life-changing phone call out of the blue, telling them that their son, daughter, wife, or husband has been in a terrible accident and might not survive, or who must bear a lifelong burden in terms of care and support for a family member that has become permanently disabled by a TWD accident.
Donna Morgan received just such a phone call on the morning of Thursday, June 18th, 2009. At the time, her twenty-four year old son, Wade Morgan, was lying in a hospital bed at Orlando Regional Medical Center, in critical condition as a result of injuries sustained from a texting while driving accident. He suffered severe head trauma and was placed on a ventilator after his girlfriend veered headlong into oncoming traffic on the freeway while she was texting. While his girlfriend sustained a broken arm and a minor concussion as a result of the incident, Wade’s injuries were far more severe; the doctors told Donna that her son was not expected to live through the weekend.
In Donna’s own words, “Wade wasn’t supposed to be in that hospital bed. He was supposed to be on a Coast Guard cutter ship. I kept telling myself that this couldn’t be happening and there must be a mistake … that he was actually on that ship.”
Just before that fateful date, Wade had just completed his Coast Guard basic training in New Jersey, finishing at the top ten percent of his class, as well as graduating with the prestigious qualification as a “sharpshooter.” This was quite an accomplishment for Wade, as it had taken him a long time just to get into basic training, having been put on a waiting list for over a year before he even got his chance. Donna says that he was enthusiastically looking forward to his new career, in large part because he believed his position with the Coast Guard would be an exciting and rewarding way for him to help others, something that he was always passionate about.
Wade’s graduation from basic training was certainly cause for celebration. Donna and her husband Larry, their two other sons, and Wade’s grandparents, as well as other members of his extended family, all made the trip to New Jersey to see him graduate. Afterwards, during Wade’s five days of leave in Atlantic City, they all spent some much needed family time together, enjoying each other’s company and basking in Wade’s happiness. He was beginning a very new and exciting chapter in his life, one that would provide the direction and fulfillment that he had always craved. Everybody was overwhelmed with pride and joy as they returned home to Florida.
Once his leave was over, Read more…