It was February 20th, 2006 when distracted driving changed the life of Bernice Plourd and her family forever.
“This girl was talking on her cell phone, she wasn’t even texting. She was talking to her mom and missed her stop sign. She hit a tractor trailer, who was coming the opposite way as me and the tractor trailer hit me,” said Plourd.
In the car with her were her two children, including her 11-year old daughter Danielle.
“My daughter caught the brunt of the accident and she died on the scene, unfortunately,” said Plourd.
Bernice was rushed to the hospital by Life Star.
A trip and a tragedy that never needed to happen, just ask the Life Star nurse who flies in on the most devastating of crashes.
“I’ve been doing this for 12 years. Every year, we have victims that we transport that have been involved in an accident from distracted driving,” said Heather Standish-Priest.
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Standish-Priest lands with Life Star at schools to make an impact.
“I think its a very powerful message when they see us land and take patients with us, letting them know it doesn’t have to be them. That what’s very important is that they know they can put that phone down and let it ring,” said Standish-Priest.
Sending a powerful message to distracted drivers is also the mission of the Fairfield Police Department.
Their message is coming in the form of a $150 fine.
They department is using grant money from the Department of Transportation to crack down on distracted driving.
It’s a message that is still tough to get through.
“His story was that he was taking the phone out of his cup-holder and putting it in his lap,” said Officer Ray Quiles of the Fairfield Police Department.
Police say they could write distracted driving tickets all day if they wanted to.
But its the message, not the money, that is the priority in it all.
“Be aware, we have all done it. We have all done it, myself included. But if you realize how much of a distraction it is,” said Lt. Chris Tursi.
“Its not exactly fun handing out tickets all day. You realize people need their money. Its’ a hard paycheck they work for. Part of that is going to the state of Connecticut, but the important thing is that they stay off their phone while driving. Because at the end of the day, what’s worth more? Your paycheck or somebody’s life?” Said Officer Ray Quiles.
Like a little girl who loved girl scouts and softball, who played the violin and would be 23-years-old today.
“It just takes an instant and your life could be changed forever. If I could tell one person not to pick up the phone text or pay attention to their phone,” said Bernice Plourd.