Juror in Litwin trial speaks out about the dangers of texting and driving.
(Publishing note: I received this letter anonymously from a juror in the Alyssa Litwin trial. The email, which came from ErathJuror JDoe, said their purpose is to try to reach as many people as possible to help reduce the amount of texting and driving. “If the death of these beautiful baby girls has not stopped it, I doubt a letter such as this will help, but it is something God has laid on my heart,” the personal note to me stated. The following is the juror’s letter in its entirety.)
Recently, I had the difficult task of serving on the jury in the case involving the tragic death of two beautiful baby girls. While I would like to think that a letter such as this is not necessary, cases like this show that it is.
Everywhere you go, you see people on their phones while driving. I have done it more than I would like to admit.
I always tell myself that I am being safe. I check to make sure there are no other cars in front of me, use cruise control, and type just a letter or two at a time before checking again.
Telling myself this is safe is just a lie. A car could come from a side road, or in town a child could run out from behind a parked car, or you can be so distracted that you did not notice that there really are cars in front of you.
Being a juror on this trial was the most difficult thing I have ever done, and could never come close to what this family has had to deal with.
The things that I had to see and hear will haunt me for a very long time. The father having to recount coming up on that scene, and the truck driver who witnessed it having to tell what he saw clearly carrying a heavy burden nearly three years later should never have to happen. While this case involved way more than sending the simple text that we all send, the fact of the matter is that a simple “OK” or “On My Way” could result in the very same tragedy.
While you might not be found guilty of manslaughter, the number of lives that you could destroy with that simple text are too numerous to count.
Beyond the families and friends, you have all of the witnesses, troopers, EMT, firefighters, and others, and that is just at the scene. If it goes to trial, you force many of these to relive that tragedy and listen to details that they may not have even known and should never have to hear.
In addition, there are dozens of others that now have to live through that moment. Jurors have to listen very closely and make notes and watch videos that will make you sick. The court reporter has to not only listen closely, they have to then type it down word for word.
I know that life is fast and we never have time to get everything done that we want. However, if you need to send a text, please pull over and send it or wait until you are at a stop light at the very least.
You can pull over and send a text in less than a minute. That one minute is nothing compared to the damage you could cause. Life is too precious.