SILVER CITY, N.M. (KRQE) - A woman who was hit by a teenager she believes was driving and using his cell phone has started an Internet campaign to bring attention to the issue of distracted drivers.
Moti Melchizedek has posted a video on YouTube (see below) in which she shares her thoughts on distracted driving. The Silver City resident also posted pictures of her injuries.
"When you see people talking on their phone, they're just not paying attention when they're driving," Melchizedek said. "Everybody's doing it around here."
Six months ago, Melchizedek was walking her two dogs in her neighborhood when she began crossing the street. That was when she saw a 17-year-old driver look down as he barreled down the street toward her.
"I was trying to get us all out of the road, but he was too fast," she said. "And I was screaming, ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!' and he hit me full speed. I mean he started accelerating there and never stopped accelerating."
The impact of the crash broke both Melchizedek's legs, fractured her nose and caused injuries to her face. One of her dogs – Maggie Mae – was killed.
"I remember kind of seeing him on his phone," she said.
Silver City police were never able to prove the teen, who is not being identified because of his age, was using his cell phone.
Capt. Terry Fortenberry of the Silver City Police Department said the cause of the accident was "distracted driving."
"The driver admitted to taking his eyes off the road and looking down," Fortenberry said.
The teen, who was cited for careless driving, did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Recently, more attention has been paid to the dangers of texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. Last year, News 13 showed viewers an experiment in which a group of young people tried to use a cell phone while negotiating the Albuquerque Police Department's driving course.
The drivers, who were unable to avoid smashing into cones, failed miserably.
And that may be the reason that Albuquerque, Santa Fe and other New Mexico cities have made talking or texting on a cell phone while driving illegal. However, in many cities and towns across the state, Silver City among them, the practice remains legal.
"It was obvious," Melchizedek said of the cause of the crash that injured her. "I could see him put his head down and never look up just like everybody does. And the second it happened, I knew that was what it was.
"People say it's a miracle that I can walk and that I wasn't injured beyond repair."
(Online: 2 KASA Fox W82TXT safety project)
Moti Melchizedek's YouTube video:
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