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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Accident survivor's message: 'Hang up and drive'

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  • Jacy Good stands in front of the crowded high school auditorium, her left hand clenching a remote control; her right hand frozen in place, her right arm permanently bent at the elbow. Just one of the constant reminders of her near-fatal car accident years earlier.
    Good, now 27, survivor of an accident that killed two people, spoke to high school students Friday at Prattsburgh Central School. Good had already been to 10 other schools this week to tell her story of loss and survival.
    "Hang Up and Drive: Jacy and Steve's Journey," begins with Good's graduation from Muhlenberg College on May 18, 2008, as Magna cum Laude with Phi Beta Kappa Honors. Her bachelor's degree in international studies and German studies earned her a position with Habitat for Humanity through Americorps, which she was set begin shortly after graduation.
    Good would never get the chance to start her career.
    Her memory ends at a rest stop on the way home from graduation with her parents, Jay and Jean. It is through friends and family that she is able to tell what happened next.
    "I was in the wrong place at the wrong time that day," said Good as she recalled the horrific crash that killed her parents.
    The car Good and her parents were traveling in was hit by a tractor-trailer whose driver swerved to miss another car. The 18-year-old behind the wheel of the other car had driven through a red light. He had been distracted by his cell phone.
    Despite numerous injuries and a 10-percent survival rate after a nearly nine-hour surgery, Good pulled through. After being comatose for two weeks, Good's steady recovery led to her release from the hospital four months after the accident.
    Now, as part of FocusDriven, an advocate group for safe, cell-free driving, Good travels the United States to increase awareness about the perils of distracted driving.
    "What happened to me is preventable," she said. "And it starts with the students in this room right now."
    Anna Presher, a 17-year-old senior at Prattsburgh, thinks more people should be aware of just how dangerous distracted driving is.
    "It's really great that she's interacting with all ages," she said. "Especially those kids that are just starting out driving."
    At the end of her talk, Good had just one request for the kids in the audience.
    "There's no safe way to use a phone and drive," she said. "So my biggest request is when you get into that driver's seat, you don't touch that phone."

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