GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A Colorado family's life was forever changed when a distracted driver hit and killed their precious daughter. Now they are working to spread awareness and their message that distracted driving kills.
“That’s the day my whole world turned upside down.” Talking about Thanksgiving 2008 will never be easy for Darren and Shelley Forney. It’s the day their 9-year-old daughter Erika died. “That was when we had to say goodbye to our daughter,” says Darren.
Erika was riding her bike home from school, just seconds from the front door when she was hit by distracted driver. “Worst thing a parent should ever have to go through is to bury their child,” says Darren.
It was a neighbor who took Erika’s life. She was talking on her cell phone and driving when it happened. “Our daughter, we’re not gonna get her back. This was a silly distraction that took our daughter and it was 100 percent preventable,” says Darren.
For grandma, Stella, the grief is overwhelming at times, “Missing Erika, that was just so heartbreaking. But seeing my children go through this grief and go through this and as a mother I couldn’t fix it. That was the most heart breaking,” says Stella.
The Forneys know first-hand distracted driving kills, “We learned the hard way about how dangerous this deadly habit is,” says Darren. And it’s a lesson they don’t want other families to have to learn. That’s why Shelley got involved with Focus Driven, an advocacy group made up of five people throughout the U.S. that have lost someone because a driver was talking or texting.
“Talking or texting in your car while driving is the worst thing you can do. You’re taking away all your attention and when you do that, people die,” says Shelley.
Along with spreading awareness and educating, “Our group is all about helping victims and supporting them to let them know they aren’t alone,” says Shelley.
The Forneys know nothing will bring Erika back. But they know that by sharing their story they might just get another person to put down the phone and just drive.
For a link to Focus Driven click on the link below under Related Links. At focusdriven.org you can also take a pledge not to use your phone while you drive. You can donate to Focus Driven just by downloading the song ‘Save a Life’ by Katie Rice on iTunes.
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