We’ve all probably done it at some point in our lives. A quick text to a friend to let them know we’re on the way, or an “I love you” response to Mom just because.
It seems so harmless and commonplace at the time, but as Joyce Osborne knows, just one text can be lethal.
At 1:08 a.m. on February 12, 2016, her son, Thomas Anthony Kohn, was taken away from her and his three children all because of one “mundane” text to a friend.
“Thomas was in the middle of typing a text when he exited the roadway going 75 miles per hour,” Joyce shared with Love What Matters. “He then struck a [guardrail] end cap and continued on until the front end struck a large granite boulder. His truck became airborne, slid across the westbound lanes of I-10, indicted by the fuel trail, and landed on the driver’s side facing south, and blocked westbound travel lanes. The undercarriage of the truck sustained extensive contact damage. At some point this truck caught fire and was fully engulfed.”
Thomas’ body was burnt so badly beyond recognition that it had to be cremated. After the heartbroken mother was able to process what had actually happened over the next several days, she had all these nagging questions that just needed to be answered.
One of them: What WAS that final text that was SO important it cost her son his life?
“I had the answer in front of me but had to get the courage to get the answer,” wrote Joyce. “I wanted to know what text was so important it had taken my son away from everyone who loved him. Finally, that moment had come, I opened the phone and there it was. The text he was in the middle of when he crashed his truck.”
It was obvious from the text that Thomas and his friend had been messaging each other back and forth before the final text that never got sent.
“[As] I read, and re-read, and re-read the text he was in the middle of, anger overcame me,” Joyce continued. “It was such a mundane text and it could have waited. That text altered so many lives. My son leaves behind three beautiful children, two boys and one girl, all under the age of ten. They will never get another I love you, another hug or kiss, or a lifelong set of memories with him. It is up to the ones left behind to keep his memory alive for his children. I now often think of what the future holds for my grandkids. Their dad should be here to cheer them on when they are celebrating their many accomplishments in life. He should be here to encourage them when they don’t succeed the first time. He won’t be here when they graduate, succeed in their chosen careers, get married, or have children of their own. My son won’t be here to be a pawpaw to his grandkids. This is NOT how it should be.”
Ever since Thomas’s death, Joyce has decided to become his voice and an advocate against distracted driving.
“Distracted driving is ANY activity that takes your attention away from driving,” she asserts. “When you choose to drive distracted you’re not only putting yourself at risk, but you also endanger others on the road around you. Parents need to set examples for their kids and talk to them about the consequences of distracted driving. Distracted driving crashes are 100% preventable. Think before you put the key in the ignition. Don’t make My story YOUR story.”
In a Facebook post shared on July 19 of this year, Joyce wrote yet another warning against the very thing that killed her son, and it’s since been shared nearly 400,000 times:
“At 1:08 am on 2-12-16 my only child and son was taken away in the still of the night, in a one vehicle crash. This crash was a direct result of my Thomas texting and driving. My child had his CDL license AND knew better. It was a preventable death and now the ones who love him are left here to pick the pieces up. My grandkids lives are forever altered. Our shattered hearts will never be whole again.
I’m forever changed. I’m still trying to learn how to be ok. I’m trying to learn how to feel happy when I hurt so much for his kids. I hurt for Thomas. He’s not here to see his children grow. I hurt for his friends who miss him. Thomas made a poor decision that evening, that altered so many lives.
There will never be another silly prank by Thomas, another I love you to his kids, it just swiftly ended that night.
So you think it’s okay to drive distracted? Before you make that decision ask yourself, do you want your parents to bury you and your kids to grow up without you?
In honor of Thomas please share and ask all your friends to share this story. It could perhaps save your own life or someone you love’s life. Or worse, how would you feel if you killed an innocent victim due to a decision you made. You can NOT multitask while driving!! It’s just THAT simple!!
It’s no joke. Distracted driving kills. SHARE Joyce’s important message with the ones you love today.