Hang Up - Save a Life
"The day of the accident, I remember saying to her, 'Laura, don't go out tonight. It's late, it's St. Patrick's Day. There could be people on the road who are drinking and driving, and you know, it's dangerous. Just stay in.' And she was like, 'I'll be fine mom, I'll be fine.'"
But as the night went on, Linda became increasingly worried for her 17-year-old daughter's safety. "About 11:30, she wasn't home. Then, about 1:30, there was a knock at the door and there were two police officers standing at my door, and I just knew something had happened. They said, â€˜We're sorry, there's been an accident, and your daughter did not survive.'"
According to one news report, the 19-year-old teen who hit Lauren's car told police he was on his cell phone, looking for an address.
[AD]"The young man that hit her was traveling north, ran a red light, and ran into her car. [His vehicle] hit her on the driver's side with such force that it flipped her SUV, and she was killed instantly," Linda details.
Before discussing the cause of Lauren's death, Dr. Phil asks Linda to tell the audience about her daughter who was mourned by more than 1,000 people at her funeral.
"She was an incredible human being. She was smart, athletic, funny. She had more friends than any human being that I've ever known. Even though she died at the young age of 17, she impacted so many people's lives. You couldn't be in the room with Laura and not be smiling or laughing," shares Linda with pride.
Linda cautions other teens. "Believe me, Lauren never thought that she'd go out one night and someone texting on their phone would take her life. And, he never thought he would take someone's life," Linda says, as the cameras pan to Heather who is listening solemnly.
She explains that the red light through which the oncoming car struck her daughter's car, had been red for at least 10 seconds. The driver later admitted that he was accessing text information on his cell phone, and didn't see the light.
Of the driver who has pleaded guilty and stands to be sentenced in the near future, Linda says, "He apologized and showed remorse. I asked the judge to maybe rule in favor of community service instead of jail time because I think it would do a lot more good to have him talking to students in schools about the dangers of text driving, and he was willing to do that."
And while Linda says there is not a day that goes by when she doesn't miss her daughter, she is living with the pain by showing forgiveness. "We've forgiven him. We know it was a terrible accident, and he and his family's life has been shattered as well as ours. His life is changed forever."
[AD]After Lauren's accident, Linda starting becoming more aware of the number of people using their cell phones while driving. Linda says she determined, "This is an epidemic, these people are addicted."
Driving by Lauren's school, she saw billboard space and thought that maybe if she personalized her message, people would hang up their cell phones, and she could make a difference.
"Hopefully, you can look at my beautiful daughter and show respect to her beautiful life and maybe you could hang up your cell phone and choose to think that texting is dangerous," she says.
For more information, visit: HangUpSaveALife.com