A young woman died in a car crash because she was too distracted by a Facebook post she was writing at the time to pay attention to the road. The post itself makes the situation all the more heartbreaking.
Courtney Ann Sanford was driving to work when the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams came on the radio. Sanford took a selfie to capture how happy she was to be hearing one of her favorites songs and posted it to Facebook. Her mistake was not pulling over to take the picture. Instead, she was driving when she faced the camera and accidentally drove across the median into oncoming traffic.
Sanford’s car collided with a 24,000-pound truck traveling at 45 miles per hour. Her car then spun out, hit a tree and burst into flames. She died instantly. The photo was posted at 8:33 a.m., and emergency responders were notified of the accident at 8:34 a.m.
Four days later, her family and friends buried her and were devastated to have to say goodbye to such a bright, promising young woman. The 32-year-old had a career in the health care industry.
Officers retrieved Sanford’s phone at the scene of the crash, and the post was still up on her screen.
“The happy song makes me HAPPY,” the post read.
Police Lt. Chris Weisner compared Sanford’s crash to those shown in public service announcements that frequently circulate online and on TV, warning against texting and driving.
“We’ve all see these graphic advertisements on TV, this was real life,” Weisner said.
The woman’s story quickly went viral, with many reiterating the importance of not texting while driving.
“I see people texting all the time driving to work in the morning if I am behind them I start honking my horn and show them my phone and shake my head no. I flash my lights and honk my horn and embarrass the hell out of them I don't care and I will keep on doing it,” one reader wrote on Shared’s Facebook page.
“It's too sad that people just cannot put that cell phone down while they drive! It's death for someone around them, don't they care?” another questioned.