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A Couple’s Safety Message for Drivers

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A Springfield couple is warning others about distracted driving, after they saw the devastation it can cause in a matter of seconds.

James and Judy Harris live on this quiet street in Springfield and for the last week, their house has been a popular stop.

“People have been stopping and taking pictures, backing up. We’ve got pedestrians, bicyclists,” said James Harris.

It’s not always like this at the Harris home, until 11 p.m. last Monday.

“We’re awoken by neighbors telling us our cars have been hit,” said James Harris.

“It was so loud that all the neighbors came out,” said Judy Harris.

They say a distracted driver coming down the street hit and totaled both of their cars.

“Aafter hitting the van, the van was pushed about a car length and a half through my car smashing the back side and just demolishing the vehicle,” said James Harris.

“It’s been such a shock. We’ve had these vehicles for 12 years and they were running great,” said Judy Harris.

12 years gone in seconds, which inspired them to take their loss and turn it into a safety message.

“After seeing people looking at the cars, slowing down and pointing at them, I thought I’d put the sign up just to put the message in the neighborhood, ‘Three seconds, 40 plus miles an hour and a distracted driver. Do not text and drive. The result of that was three totalled vehicles,'” said James Harris.

A message they hope captures the attention of all who’ve stopped to read the sign and the distracted driver who hit their cars.

“We’re not upset or mad. Like I said, it could’ve been anybody. We just hope this is a wake up call so that he knows just to be careful,” said Judy Harris.

“It’s such an important message to get out. Don’t drive distracted. You have to be focused on the road,” said James Harris.

James and Judy say the driver who hit their cars stayed at the scene until police arrived and was cooperative the whole time, even admitting he was driving distracted.

They say the driver was cited for careless driving. Police say distracted driving comes with a fine of $260 to $435.

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  1. Roger Hansen says:

    Glad you published this. Too bad a lot of people do not pay attention to all the reports of hurt people and property damage caused by talking or texting on cell phones while driving! Our family has been devastated by a person running a stop sign and crashing full speed into our daughters car while she was driving with our grand daughter along with her. The car burst into flames. Both had to be rescued from the car. Our daughter sustained major head and neck injuries. She also received a brain injury that causes serious short term memory likely never to heal. The Grand Daughter had less serious physical injuries, but has not yet adjusted to being comfortable, riding in a car. She was only 5 years old when this happened. Thanks again for posting this——

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