Crash caused by driver on cell phone killed woman's parents

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FARMINGTON — A New York couple recognized for speaking up about distracted driving will be touring area high schools and will deliver a public presentation next week.

Jacy Good and Steve Johnson will speak during a free public presentation titled "Hang Up and Drive" at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Henderson Fine Arts Center at San Juan College in Farmington.

The speakers will share their story about a vehicle collision in which a semi-trailer swerved to miss a vehicle driven by a distracted driver and struck Good's vehicle, seriously injuring her and killing her parents.

The presentation is hosted by the Eleventh Judicial District Courts, the Farmington Police Department and the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management.

Farmington police spokeswoman Georgette Allen said the idea to host the speakers came from District Judge Daylene Marsh, who watched one of Good's videos and was inspired to bring them to the area.

"I think it's important for young people to listen to their story," Allen said.

Distracted driving was involved in the death of 3,477 people nationwide in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The speakers also will visit seven area high schools as part of their visit. Their presentations will focus on topics including the vehicle collision that claimed the lives of Good's parents and the life the couple envisioned for themselves before the collision, and how they have reacted afterward, Good said in a telephone interview.

She was driving with her parents on May 18, 2018, from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, when the incident occurred. They were driving home after packing up her dorm room and attending her graduation ceremony earlier that day.

Their vehicle was struck head on by a semi-trailer as both vehicles entered an intersection with green traffic signals. The semi-trailer had swerved to miss a vehicle driven by an 18-year-old high school student who was talking on his cell phone in hands-free mode, Good said.

The student's vehicle made a left turn at a red traffic light into the same intersection as Good and her parents.

Good doesn't remember the first two of the four months she spent in the hospital. She was in a coma for about two weeks. Good was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury after the crash and is unable to use her left leg or arm.

Good emphasized the vehicle collision was not an "accident" and that distracted driving is dangerous but preventable behavior.

While spreading that message and pushing for legislation regarding distracted driving, Good has spoken at the United Nations and on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

She started to pursue a ban on cell phone usage in vehicles in Pennsylvania less than a year after the incident.

Good cited the fact that about 94 percent of vehicle collisions are caused by human error, and she hopes the presentations will inspire young drivers and their parents to keep their attention on the road.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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