Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Texting While Driving the Decision of Someone Else's Life

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Texting While Driving the Decision of Someone Else's Life

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - I first saw a link to the video on Facebook. I clicked out of curiosity. I'd covered AT& T's campaign to discourage texting and driving before and was intrigued that the company - in partnership with other mobile phone providers - had hired a filmmaker to make a documentary about the issue.

I knew the video would be heart wrenching. I rarely make it through stories about the victims of car crashes without crying, especially when the cause of the accident is something as preventable as distracted driving.

And this piece - "From One Second to the Next" - tells the stories of four such crashes. The victims are children and adults who had no blame in the accidents that killed them.

But the voice that has reverberated since in my head came from a young man from Bluffton who caused one of those accidents. Chandler Gerber, 21 years old at the time, was sending and receiving texts as he drove his van along Indiana 124 in Adams County at 60 mph.

He didn't see the Amish buggy in front of him until he plowed into the back of it. Three children died.

In the documentary, Gerber tells his story. In a voice that is strong but soft and emotional, he explains his panic at discovering what he'd done. He talks about waking up for weeks and believing it had to be a dream.

"I'm just a guy, you know," he says in the piece. "I'm just a young guy. I've got a wife, you know, a daughter on the way. I'm just a guy. This couldn't happen to me. That can't be real. I had to have just dreamed that."

As you read those words, it may seem that Gerber is making an excuse or looking for sympathy. But listening to him, looking into his striking blue eyes, it feels nothing like an excuse.

Instead, I feel that Gerber is imploring me - imploring all of us - to listen to him. His message seems simple: This could happen to you.

He talks about his memories of the accident. …

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