Students learn the dangers of texting while driving from a real-life survivor

Posted at: 04/18/2013 5:08 PM
Updated at: 04/18/2013 5:28 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

A local high school student brought a powerful message to her peers Thursday.

Students at Rush-Henrietta High School watched a public service announcement about the dangers of texting while driving during an assembly Thursday. It tells the story of Wil Craig. The Kentucky teen was seriously hurt in a car crash. Craig was the passenger and the driver was texting. Craig showed up in person to talk with students.

Eighteen-year-old Tori Mangino put the PSA together to work towards a Gold Star, the highest honor for a Girl Scout. But she said it's not just about winning the award, it's about spreading a message and what better way to make these teens understand the dangers of texting while driving than to bring a real-life story of survival right to them.

Tori Mangino has been been on a mission. On Thursday, her target audience was her classmates.

Mangino said, “They think they are invincible. They think they can multi-task and do everything at once or it only takes a second, stuff like that, and that's not the case.”

When it comes to texting and driving, there's only one factor that moves her.

Mangino said, “I hate the innocent bystanders that can be injured in the act they are committing.”

One of those innocent bystanders was 22-year-old Wil Craig. Mangino saw Craig's story on YouTube and immediately formed a bond. Years ago, Craig was in the passenger seat of a car while his friend
was texting and driving. Because of that text., his life was forever changed..

Craig said, “I laid in a coma for three weeks. I died three times. I had to be resuscitated a bunch of times. I couldn't walk, I was never supposed to walk. I was in a wheelchair for two years.”

Students at Rush-Henrietta sat in silence as Craig told his story. Some were even moved to tears, reminded that the consequence of something so simple can be very real.

Craig said, “Nothing is more important than your life and someone else's life.”

Mangino said, “It can wait. Put the phone away. Just stop. The distraction, it can wait. What's worth more? Your life or that text? I mean. really. Just think.”

There are number of ways you can take a stand against texting while driving. The first one is a form where you can report distracted driving to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office will send a warning letter to the owner of the vehicle, but it doesn't mean that person will be tickets.

Texting while Driving Apps: