Special Report: Fatal text - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Special Report: Fatal text

The Sorohan family stand over a memorial cross for Caleb. The Sorohan family stand over a memorial cross for Caleb.
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

It's easy to see everyday on Georgia roads, people texting while driving.

It's called an epidemic by the Governor's Office Of Highway Safety. People believe they can do both safely.

The Sorohan family learned that's not the case in the hardest way possible.

Their oldest son, 18-year-old Caleb, was killed instantly on December 15, 2009 near Rutledge. He was texting friends to meet for Christmas Shopping, and sent several texts just seconds before the crash.

"They don't think it's going to happen to them, and in a second it can happen to you," said Caleb's mother Mandi Sorohan.

She said she believes he was looking down when his vehicle veered into the next lane and collided head on with an SUV carrying a horse trailer.

The final text from his friend asked, "What road are you on?"

Now the family prepares to face another holiday season without their loved one.

"For a text message, that's what it came down to," said his sister Alex. This is the silly reason my brother's gone."

In an effort to fight the deadly habit, The Ford Foundation works to teach teen drivers about the reality of texting and driving.

Instructors have drivers navigate through a course of cones while sending different kinds of text messages.

But even though the obstacles aren't the same as a normal drive, the results weren't pretty.

Ford Driving Skills For Life Lead Facilitator Mike Speck shows drivers how much focus is lost when sending a message.

"Let's keep going. Let's keep going until you have the whole text done," he said directing driver Hannah Rucker, who hit an obstacle in just seconds.

"Oh geez, that's really bad," she admitted.

"I never noticed how much I actually would weave around the road until doing this," Rucker said.

"And you can see, physically with your hands, you can't steer the car," noted Speck.

"We all want to believe we can multi task, because it makes us feel good," he said. Studies have shown we can't."

Rucker explained that just knowing a message is waiting to be read can cause a driver to impulsively reach for a phone.

"You feel it vibrate, and it's messing with your mind," she said. "We've all seen the consequences it can cause. Nobody thinks [something bad] can happen to us."

The crash that killed Caleb Sorohan changed his family's outlook on driver safety forever.

Since his death his family's mission has been using his tragic death to educate people about distracted driving.

Now, as they face another holiday without him, they ask everyone to not text and drive, so that one message won't be the last thing you will be remembered by.

Copyright 2014 WALB. All rights reserved.

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