A North Carolina woman posted on Facebook just like she would any other day, but this time, her post ended in tragedy. Why? Because she was driving as she typed her message.
“The happy song makes me HAPPY!” she typed, just moments before she slammed into an oncoming truck. Courtney Sanford, 32, was killed in the wreck and the post about Pharrell‘s hit song would be her last.
Lt. Chris Weisner of the High Point, N.C. Police Department explained, “The Facebook text happened at 8:33 a.m. We got the call on the wreck at 8:34 a.m.”
“In a matter of seconds, a life was over just so she could notify some friends that she was happy,” he added.
Sanford’s car caused the oncoming truck to veer off the road and hit a tree while her vehicle went into a ditch and caught fire. The driver of the truck Sanford hit, 73-year-old John Thompson, luckily escaped the crash uninjured.
The holidays are notoriously some of the worst days for emergency responders as Americans hit the road en masse to be with their loved ones. While the increase in volume necessarily means the number of wrecks is likely to increase, distracted driving in the age of smartphones has become a problem in desperate need of attention.
The “It Can Wait” campaign was started in 2010 by AT&T.
The campaign was effective in raising awareness and precipitated many states enacting strict penalties for being distracted by a cell phone while behind the wheel.
Investigators found Sanford had also been snapping selfies as she drove down the 43.5-mile highway that is the Business 85 route.
As Lt. Weisner went on to say, “As sad as it is, it is a grim reminder for everyone… you just have to pay attention while you are in the car.”
Forty-seven states and Washinton D.C. have texting-while-driving bans, while only 15 states have bans on using a hand-held device at all.
The song Courtney loved so much is below.
Please be safe this holiday season and every day while you’re driving. This could happen to any of us. In just a second, we could take away someone’s family member. It can wait.