Three Petal teens learn the dangers of texting and driving

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Texting while driving has proven to be a life long lesson for three local teens, as it nearly took one of their lives.

It's such a simple measure to communicate,yet it can be deadly. Catherine Abadie, JC Smith and Justin Rector learned first hand how dangerous it can be.

"When I started driving," said Smith, "My dad said don't do it, don't talk on your phone, but as I kept driving it just became a normal part of my routine."

It was that habitual routine that almost caused the three teens their lives. JC got a new convertible BMW and took Catherine and Justin for a ride. It was a ride that quickly landed Catherine in the ER.

Martha Abadie got the phone call no parent ever wants to get. "That's every parents worst nightmare, getting a phone call that there has been an accident."

JC and Justin's injuries were minor. Catherine suffered a head injury, several broken bones and was in a coma.

"The neurosurgeon looked at us and said and we don't know how long she went without oxygen." Abadie said, "That was horrifying."

"I knew that there was nothing I could do at that point to change anything," said JC Smith. "I just felt really helpless."

Catherine was moved to a Jackson hospital. Luckily, within a week-and-a-half she was stable and on the road to recovery.

"After I got home from Jackson, it took a lot of physical therapy to get back to normal, and I was out of school for two months, that was really hard."

Martha Abadie said, "You know all of your life you say things like God bless you, thank God, thank God it's Friday, thank God it's happy hour, but when you are thanking God for your daughters life, her brain, and that she can walk, it just takes your breath away."

JC Smith said the hardest part for him was the thought of losing another friend.

"I actually lost my best friend in a car wreck. So,  because I saw the pain his family went through I was like I refuse to do that to someone else, but I still have to live with the fact that because I was texting and driving I almost did. That's really, really scary."

Catherine's cousin and State Senator Billy Hudson believes Mississippi needs a law banning cell phone use while driving.

"Over 30 states have a ban on texting and nine states have a ban on cell phones. It appears that we are going to be last again in something else that is so important to public safety."

Although Hudson's past attempts at getting legislation passed have died in the House, he said he isn't giving up.

Hudson plans on being the first to introduce another bill, to make sure every driver keeps their eyes on the road.

In the meantime, it's a lesson learned, and promises made between these teens and their parents to be safe drivers.

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