by Rebecca Rhodes
Five months. 167 days. 4,008 hours. 240,480 minutes. 14,428,800 seconds. Five months is all the time one mother had to hold her baby boy in her arms.
On the morning of Aug. 31, in Loudoun County, Va., the driver of a Jeep Grand Cherokee struck Mindy Schulz and her 5-month-old baby, Tristan. What was supposed to be a simple walk across an intersection for Schulz and her child, instantly became a nightmare.
According to an article by the Washington Post, a witness told authorities the driver sped up before the collision, and a court document stated he may have been looking at his phone. The crash killed Tristan, and sent Schulz to the hospital with serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.
When a wife or husband dies before their spouse, they are called a widower. When a child’s parents die, they are called an orphan. There is no name for a parent whose child dies. Parents burying their children is unnatural.
Tristan’s grandmother, Billie Shutts, is the purchasing assistant for WVU Parkersburg. In response to the situation, and to show support for the staff member, WVU Parkersburg will hold a seminar in October about distracted driving.
“If you look at who is driving, it is the younger generations out on the road,” Shutts said.
A presentation on texting and driving will be given by Administrative Secretary Elizabeth Knick. Texting and driving statistics and graphics will be included.
“We should all put our phones away, out of reach, on vibrate, turn it off, whatever it takes; out of sight, out of mind. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important than our lives,” Knick said.
Knick hopes that all attendees learn how precious life is, and that it can be taken away in an instant. Also, Shutts hopes to give her testimony at the seminar.
“You can say all you want that texting and driving is against the law, but until you put a face or a situation with that, it’s not going to be fully realized,” Shutts said.
In an attempt to reach more students with her message, Shutts wishes to visit surrounding high schools and speak about the accident.
“If anything comes from this, I want it to be that one life was saved. I want people to realize the danger they put themselves and those around them in when the are distracted drivers,” Shutts said.
Schulz is reaching audiences with her Facebook page, and she is a supporter of the AT&T It Can Wait campaign. The campaign states, “Distracted driving is never OK.”
Schulz’s friend, Lindsey Saylor created a GoFundMe page. Any donations will go to the Schulz family to help cover medical and funeral costs. At this time, the page has raised a little over $95,000.
So, instead of sending that Snapchat, instead of fishing around in the glovebox and instead of fiddling with the radio, remember.
Remember the baby boy’s life that was taken away from him, remember a mother who will never see her son’s first steps let alone him walk across a stage for graduation and remember it could be you.