Texting While Driving: "Senseless Way To Die"

By John W. Davis

June 29, 2011 Updated Jun 29, 2011 at 10:07 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - She's been on Oprah. She's lobbied state lawmakers. Why... because her son died because he was texting while driving.

"I had just tried to reach him on his cell phone. I called him, then I sent him a text message actually asking him where he was at and I didn't get a response," said Rodney Thompson's Mother Diveeta Thompson.

Minutes later, Thompson's door bell rang...her 18-year-old son Rodney Thompson was dead.

"I'm so thankful for the 18 years that I had him. All the things that we were able to do together. And in the same vain, I miss him," said Thompson.

Rodney died on October 17, 2008.

His memorial still sits at the base of a utility pole in the 3200 block of Dicke Road on Fort Wayne's Southwest side.

Thompson lost control of his car as he reached to check a text message.

He slammed head on into a utility pole.

His car ended up wrapped around it.

"Even as I was creating my son's obituary, my prayer was that his death not be in vain," reflected Thompson.

Rodney's mother has devoted the last 2 years and 8 months to doing just that.

She created Rock Solid 626, a non-profit organization, where she has shared her son's story countless times with local teenagers and lobbied state lawmakers.

Rock was Rodney's nickname.

Solid stands for Rodney being a Solid young man.

6-26 stands for June 26.

Meanwhile, Rodney would have turned 21 last Sunday.

"To me it was such a senseless way to die," said Thompson.

"If you haven't experience it. You're kind of removed," continued Thompson, as she explained despite her son's story, some Indiana lawmakers did not want to pass the new texting / emailing while driving ban.

Thompson supports the new law, but said it does not go far enough.

Rock Solid 626's motto is STANDD, which stands for, Stop Texting And Distracted Driving.

Thompson told Indiana's NewsCenter it may take some time, but she will not quit until Indiana is a hands-free, Bluetooth only state.

"Someone dialing a phone number is just as dangerous as someone sending a text. That's not rocket science. It's common sense," pleaded Thompson.

The new texting and emailing while driving ban goes into Friday, July 1.




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