One week after turning 16, Savannah Nash took her newly minted drivers license and drove to the store to pick up dinner ingredients for her mother. Reportedly distracted with typing a text message, the popular high freshman pulled out in front of a semi-truck on the highway near her house. The oncoming driver slammed on the brakes, but it was too late.
“We do believe that texting was an issue,” said Sgt. Bill Lowe, public information officer for Missouri Highway Patrol. He added that a long, unsent text message was found on Nash’s phone.
According to the KCTV 5, it was Nash’s first time driving alone since.
“The girls are good little people,” said Linda Murphy, a neighbor who saw the results of the crash. “To lose your life the first time you drive (alone), that’s really hard … I don’t know as a parent how you survive some of these things. It’s got to be really hard for them.”
The outpouring of grief from the Missouri community was immediate.
“Today was the day that the seniors would be triumphant of finally being done with high school,” wrote the account administrator on a Facebook page set up in Nash’s memory. “Savannah won’t get that chance. She will never become a sophomore, or get her diploma, or anything at all.”
Sadly, the tragedy is not uncommon. According to an April report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011.
In spite of public service announcements that discourage distracted driving, the number of fatal crashes has steadily increased in recent years. More than 30 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 admitted to texting while driving within the past 30 days.