A Colorado ban against texting while driving went into effect in 2009 -- not that Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle thought it would make a huge difference. At the time, he shrugged off the measure as a "feel-good law" that would be tough to enforce.
More than three years later, texting and driving still happens all the time, with sometimes fatal consequences. That's why the parents of Alexander Heit have released a photo of their son's last text -- the one he was sending when he crashed and died.
On April 3, according to the Greeley Tribune, Heit, a Boulder resident attending the University of Northern Colorado, was driving east on 0 Street near 35th Avenue in an area of roadway with a dirt shoulder and a sizable drop-off when his car veered into traffic. He tried to get back into the proper lane, but his sudden correction caused his car to roll and flip. Afterward, he was rushed to an area hospital, but his injuries were too severe, and he was soon pronounced dead.
What caused the accident? Well, witnesses on the scene said Heit's head had been down as he crossed lanes, and a phone was found in his car. Here's a photo of the last message, as supplied by the Greeley Police Department:
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Sharon Heit, Alexander's bereft mom, issued a heartfelt statement through the GPD. It reads in part, "I can't bear the thought of anyone else having to go through something like this. Please, vow to never, NEVER text and drive. 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."
A UNC release notes that a tree-planting project in Heit's memory is being planned by the family and should take place during the spring or early summer. In the meantime, you can honor him and his loved ones not just with heartfelt condolences, which we also offer, but by putting down the damn phone when you're behind the wheel.
More from our Politics archive circa 2009: "Texting while driving: a passionate defense of the new ban."