It’s been 10 years since Judy Bouchard’s daughter died on I-295 while en route to work from her home. The University of New England graduate was working as a teacher of students with autism.
Heather Dawn Bouchard’s phone buzzed. She took the call. It was a client. But she dropped the phone mid-conversation. She unbuckled her seat belt to reach down for it. It was the last thing she ever did. The car crossed over into the median and slammed into a van driven by a local television crew. Heather was ejected from her car and died soon after. Although she was an organ donor, her body had sustained such trauma that none of her organs were fit for use. She was just 24 years-old. The two TV crew members in the van suffered injuries, but survived.
Recently, her mother stood before a group of students at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle. She told them of her heartache that cell phone distraction has caused their family. What the world lost that day. How her daughter would never have driven while on the phone if she knew how greatly her family would suffer for it.
“She didn’t think it could happen to her,” Bouchard told the group gathered at the safety symposium. Continue reading