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Good’s story: Hang up and drive

Hang up and drive.

That is what Jacy Good and Steven Johnson have been teaching teenagers and adults the past few years, giving students a real-life example about what it was like to suffer through a life-changing experience with texting and driving.

Jacy Good lost her parents to a teenager who was too busy texting and driving to see what was happening on the road. Good lost her parents on May 18, 2008.

“The only memory I have is that gas station, and I am so thankful to have that memory,” Jacy said. “It is the only memory I have left of my parents.”

They stopped at a little gas station on their way home for Good’s graduation from Muhlenberg College. It was only a 45-minute drive home after stopping at the station. Two minutes later, and Good’s world changed forever.

An eighteen-year-old and his friend were in a minivan, and the driver was taking a phone call at a red light. Good and her parents were coming to a green light and so was the dairy truck. The kids in the minivan were not paying attention and went through the red light and the dairy truck swerved and hit the Good’s. Good’s parents were pronounced dead at the scene. Jacy, herself, was in critical condition.

Steven Johnson, Good’s husband, said, “It was a rule we text each other when we’re safe on the other side… I texted her and I thought she was busy celebrating with her family when she got home, so I let it go. It was the calls that piled up that worried me.”

Johnson also graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2008 with Good.

“Her name popped up on my phone, and I said, ‘Hey babe,’ and the voice on the other end wasn’t hers. It was a different lady,” said Johnson. “She said she was from Reading Hospital.”

Johnson said he cried for about three-and-a-half hours and then he and his parents drove to Reading. Johnson was originally from New York City.

Good and Johnson wanted the young people of Warren — through a recent assembly at Beaty Warren Middle School — to get across in their minds that they need to put the phones away when they drive; even Bluetooth or talking on speaker distracts you.

They showed the students two points of view — what the road looks like when you are not a cellular device and what the road looks like when you are. When people drive and they are on their phones they can not and do not pay enough attention to all their surroundings.

The couple showed students what their brain looks like when they are focused on one thing versus when they are multitasking. Your brain reacts more slowly when you are multitasking because you are using both sides of your brain. No one is at their full potential when they are driving and/or texting and calling.

Good was in the hospital for two months. She had many broken bones, lacerations, and internal injuries all over her body. Good had a traumatic brain injury that gave her a 10 percent chance to live.

She was transported to a rehab hospital where she learned how to do everything on her own again, starting with reading preschool books. And Johnson was by her side the whole time. He spent 12 hour days while she was in the hospital, every day.

Good and Johnson started the website “Hang Up and Drive” (http://www.hangupanddrive.com/) months after Good recovered. She found there was no law dealing with cell phone use behind the wheel in PA, and told her story at the state capital building in Harrisburg, to try and get a law passed. She was with the Secretary General of United Nations, and was even on Oprah.

Jacy Good is always trying to get her point across that texting and driving should not be socially acceptable. She shares her story so no one else has to go through the pain she went through with her parents’ deaths. Good and Johnson started this program to help her cope with the loss, but more universally to bring awareness to the topic.

“There is nothing more important on a phone than there is on the road,” said Good.

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