SOMERS, N.Y. - In front of dozens of Somers High School seniors and their families, the Somers Parent Teacher Association (PTA) hosted a series of presentations designed to explain the consequences of distracted driving on Wednesday, March 4.
The presentation, which was mandatory for any seniors wishing to obtain a parking permit in the school parking lot, kicked off with a video titled “Desensitized Violence: Crash and Red Asphalt.” The video chronicled real life, using unedited footage of fatal car accidents that claimed the life of various young people all due to distracted driving, or driving under the influence.
The video was then followed by a brief lecture by Somers Town Justice Michael McDermott, who focused his attention on teen drivers who use their cell phones while operating their vehicle.
“When these kids come into my courtroom,” explained Judge McDermott, “I am not doing anyone a favor by giving these kids a break. All it takes is a fraction of a second to make a wrong move.”
Following Judge McDermott’s speech was the evening’s main presentation: The inspiring life story of Jacy Good and her husband, Steve Johnson. Good and Johnson, self-proclaimed college sweethearts, met while attending their first semester at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. The couple dated for practically their entire time at college, anxiously awaiting their graduation, marriage and the life that was to come. Unfortunately for both, that life was put on hold for a while.
On May 18, 2008, the day of her graduation, Good and her parents were on their way home from the ceremony when a distracted 18-year-old driver talking on his phone ran a red light, causing an 18-wheeler to swerve into the Goods’ family car, hitting them head on. The crash killed Good’s parents, Jay and Jean Good, instantly and left Jacy paralyzed with a 10 percent chance of living through the night.
“Somehow, I came out of that white pile of steel in the background,” Good explained, pointing to the slideshow picture of the mangled vehicle behind her.
Johnson, then only Good’s boyfriend, relieved the traumatic events surrounding her struggle just to stay alive while on stage. According to Good, she does not remember any details about the next two months of her life following the crash.
“I was going home every night [after the hospital] as physically and emotionally low as could be,” Johnson recounted.
As time passed, however, Good began to make strides towards recovery, although she still struggles with simple things, and the emotional toll the crash had taken will be irreversible.
“All of these simple things I had taken for granted I just cannot do,” Good explained, referring to her lack of mobility in parts of the left side of her body, including everything from the wrist up on her left arm.
Good wanted to use her story as a warning for any prospective teen drivers who attempt to “multi task” while driving, a feat that Good does not believe to be possible.
“There are these ripples that come out when a tragedy like this happens,” explained Good. “When you’re the only person in control of a car...in control of my life, your life, it’s not OK.”
Good has used her story to reach millions of listeners around the country through appearances on CNN, Oprah, and many others. Good, along with her husband, strongly recommended the Life Saver application, an app that locks a user’s phone while they are operating a vehicle, to the parents in the audience. For those looking for more information on safe driving as well as Good and Johnson’s story can go to HangUpAndDrive.com.