Distracted driving crash photos a reminder to put the phones away

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Photos Courtesy: Minnesota State Patrol

The Minnesota State Patrol is sharing startling photos of a teen’s distracted driving crash to remind drivers to put the phone away behind the wheel.

“In this case, traffic was slowing for a construction area and the vehicle crashed in the back of a semi, and these things happen in a matter of seconds,” said Lt. Gordon Shank of Minnesota State Patrol.

Shank says this crash along I-494 west near Highway 52 in Inver Grove Heights happened because the 17-year-old driver was distracted by the GPS on his cell phone. Thankfully, he survived.

“Distracted driving, it changes lives, and thankfully this person was not injured severely and it could’ve been a lot worse,” said Shank.

The crash happened on December 10. Troopers are sharing the photos now as a reminder of how quickly things can go bad when there are distractions.

“We want to get the message out, especially around the holidays, we want people to make it home safely,” said Shank. “We don’t want people to not be able to celebrate the holidays with their families.”

Some local families don't have that gift this Christmas.

Peggy Riggs of Oakdale only has photos and memories of her youngest son David. He was killed five years ago, when he was 20.

“He was waiting to turn into a driveway and waiting for an oncoming car to pass and he was hit from behind by an 18-year-old who was texting and driving,” said Riggs.

After that, life for the Riggs family would never be the same. She says she hopes photos showing the dangers of distracted driving will spark something in those who see them. 

“When you go to pick up your phone, think about yourself because you could be taking yourself out of your family too, but think of others, you have to think of others and what it does to a family - it literally rips them apart,” she said.

Riggs says she is also continuing to push for a hands-free law in Minnesota. Currently in this state, drivers can talk on the phone, but cannot text. There are 16 states with hands-free laws on the books.