Law enforcement unveils sign for teen killed in crash - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Law enforcement unveils sign for teen killed in crash

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Law enforcement from around Eastern Washington gathered Wednesday to announce enhanced distracted driving patrols and unveil a sign in memory of an 18-year-old killed in an ugly crash last September. Law enforcement from around Eastern Washington gathered Wednesday to announce enhanced distracted driving patrols and unveil a sign in memory of an 18-year-old killed in an ugly crash last September.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Law enforcement from around eastern Washington gathered Wednesday to announce enhanced distracted driving patrols and unveil a sign in memory of an 18-year-old killed in an ugly crash last September.

Sam Thompson crashed along Highway 195 near Colfax on September 12, 2014, while driving back to Lewis-Clark State College. Investigators determined Thompson was texting when he veered into oncoming traffic and collided with a semi-truck head on.

“This is really about saving lives,” Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said Wednesday. “In a split second, your life, and your family's life and your friend's life can change forever.”

Chief Jenkins told the crowd on-hand drivers talking on the phone are four times more likely to crash, and those texting are 23 times more likely to meet that same fate.

“This is preventable,” he said.

Jim and Lisa Thompson know all too well how preventable it is. Their son, Sam, was the young man behind the wheel last September.

“He knew better,” Lisa Thompson said. “We taught him not to text and drive. He still did it. He paid for it with his life and it was the worst thing in our life.”

The sign, unveiled today, reads, ‘Please Don't Text And Drive.' Sam's parents hope it will be a gentle reminder to drivers of all ages that the dangers of distracted driving are real.

“I feel bad that it's taken this tragedy to open our eyes to say, ‘hey there's a problem,'” Lisa Thompson said.

“That's why we're out there. And Sam is the power behind us.”

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