Hang Up: Back in the saddle after deadly texting crash

10:58 AM, Mar 5, 2012   |    comments
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  • Brooksville, Florida -- The 2012 legislative session is winding downn in Tallahassee and again it looks like lawmakers won't be passing a law banning texting and driving.

    One bill (SB 416 sponsored by Republican Nancy Detert of Venice) only has to pass a vote by the full Senate, but a companion bill in the House hasn't even had a single committee hearing.

    "How many of these accidents have to happen?" wonders Joyce Concklin who owns Clover Oaks Farm with her husband "Chick" Concklin--raising Norwegian Fjord and rare Ardennes horses.  "It's bad. It's probably right up there with drunk driving."

    The Concklins know the dangers of texting and driving.  In January, 2010 they were heading home after visiting family in Texas when they spotted a problem on a small, two-lane highway in Van Zandt County, Texas.  A car was veering into their lane.

    "My husband said, 'What's that guy doing?'" remembers Joyce Concklin.  "And I look up and the guy's coming over toward our lane.  And then he said, 'This is not going to be good.'"

    Chick Concklin swerved, his tires squealing.  That's was when he noticed the other driver look up and hit his brakes.  He hit the Concklins head-on.

    "All I heard was a horrible noise--brakes.  And I thought to myself, it'll be over in a few seconds," said Joyce.

    She wound up with several broken bones and needed emergency surgery in Texas.  But the 21-year-old man who hit her--with a fiance and a baby daughter at home--was killed.  According to a crash report from the Texas Highway Patrol, he was found dead in his car, his hand still clutching his cell phone.

    "Just senseless," said Joyce Concklin.  "Senseless loss for him, laying me up for a good year of recovery and basically disrupting my life for the rest of my life."

    Parts of her life are getting somewhat back to normal.  Joyce is riding again but stays with the older and calmer horses--at the request of her doctors and husband.

    But she's had to hire someone to help out around the farm and can't show the horses herself.

    She also can't understand why lawmakers in Tallahassee won't pass a ban on texting and driving.

    "I think it's ridiculous for them to say that it's a person's right to text in a car. It's also a person's right to be able to go down the road and not worry about getting hit."

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