April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Parents of a college student who died in a car accident while sending a text are now sharing that final message in hopes to stopping others from dying similar crashes.

Alexander Heit, 22, died shortly after the April 3 crash, but his parents and police are hoping the photo of the mundane text on his iPhone will serve as a stark reminder to drivers.

His final text cut off in mid-sentence, because he drifted into oncoming traffic before he could send it. The University of Northern Colorado student jerked the steering wheel and went off the road, rolling his car.

Alexander’s mother, Sharon Heit has made a personal appeal to teens urging them not to text and drive

A photo, published Wednesday in The Greeley Tribune, shows Heit was responding to a friend by typing ‘Sounds good my man, seeya soon, ill tw’ before he crashed.

Witnesses told police that Heit appeared to have his head down when he began drifting into the oncoming lane in the outskirts of Greeley, where the University of Northern Colorado is located. According to police, an oncoming driver slowed and moved over just before Heit looked up and jerked the steering wheel.

“Unfortunately, when we think to ourselves, ‘I’ll just do it this one time,’ we are fooling ourselves,” Police Chief Jerry Garner told The Greeley Tribune. “This one time may be the only time.”

The Heits are sharing their tragedy and loss, in hope that through Alex’s story, others may realize and recognize just how dangerous texting and driving is. If this tragic, senseless accident can be a learning experience for others, perhaps others will be saved.

Police say Heit, a Colorado native who loved hiking and snowboarding, had a spotless driving record and wasn’t speeding.

In a statement released through police, Heit’s mother said she doesn’t want anyone else to lose someone to texting while driving. “I can’t bear the thought of anyone else having to go through something like this,” Sharon Heit said. “In a split second you could ruin your future, injure or kill others, and tear a hole in the heart of everyone who loves you.”

The stats:

  • 9,201 motor vehicle accidents that happened in 2022 on Iowa roadways because of distracted or inattentive drivers.
  • Of these accidents, 20 deaths, 3,652 injured people and over $81 million in property damage happened.
  • distracted, driving is a primary offense in Iowa which means a law enforcement officer may stop a driver who is texting (this includes reading, writing, or sending a message), or using any portable electronic device while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Unfortunately, people know that texting and driving is illegal, but continue doing it anyway, and it puts others at great risk.
  • April 3-10, drivers will see an increased presence of law-enforcement, stopping and ticketing those drivers phone texting and driving in the ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay’ campaign; deputies of the Sioux county sheriffs office will be joining them in this enforcement effort.