Driving While InTEXTicated: Turning Tragedy into Prevention

Thursday, July 16th 2009, 10:21 am
By: News 9

By Doug Warner, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - A man distracted by his cell phone crashed into another vehicle killing the other driver. Although he served no jail time, he now lives with a heavy burden for the rest of his life.

On September 3, 2008, Chris Hill's life was changed forever.

"I was screaming. Witnesses were coming up holding me up because I couldn't handle it. I knew what had happened? I knew right then I had killed her," Hill said.

That is not an easy thing for the 21-year-old to say or admit. Hill said he had only been on the road and on the phone for less than a minute when his red truck struck Linda Doyle's SUV in the driver's door. Now he is sentenced to a life of non-stop guilt and endless images.

"The second I collided with her there was a horn going off. I kept yelling, ma'am, ma'am, tapping her. She didn't move," Hill said. "I could hardly write the police report. My hand was shaking so bad. The only thing that kept going through my head, was hitting her and hitting her."

Linda's daughter, Jennifer Smith said she agreed with the judge who gave Hill's probation, and she said she found it in her heart to forgive him.

"It made me feel a lot better knowing that there wasn't someone out there that hated me and wanted me dead," Hill said.

Smith said she had to look at the possible good that could come out of her tragic situation, such as preventing this from happening to other people. And Hill has a the opportunity share his experience with others.

In addition to speaking at victim impact panels, Hill wrote about the accident and the dangers of cell phone driving for his college English class.

And because Hill decided to brave his guilt, he said he can now try to warn others before it's too late.

"You know, just seeing her laying over sideways in her car when I got out of the truck. That's something that never leaves my head," Hill said.

Representative Sue Tibbs is working to pass a ban on driving and talking on cell phones while driving. Doug Warner will have more on Tibbs' efforts and what's causing the hold up for cell phone restrictions. That's Thursday on NEWS 9 at 10.

More on News9.com: