32-year-old Courtney Ann Sanford was driving her red Toyota Corolla to work when Pharell Williams’s hit song, “Happy,” came on the radio. Given her mood and her love of the song, Courtney couldn’t help but take a ‘selfie’ with her phone and share the moment on Facebook.This Facebook post turned out to be the last thing that Courtney ever said, wrote, or felt. She did not pull over to take the picture and post it; instead, she did it while she was driving. While Courtney was busy submitting her post, her Toyota Corolla went across the center median and into oncoming traffic. Courtney collided with a 24,000-pound recycling truck while traveling at 45 miles per hour. The car left the road, crashed into a tree, and then erupted in flames. Courtney died immediately upon impact. Her parents, grandmother, and two brothers were in tears when they laid this college graduate with two degrees to rest just four days later. She had a promising career in the healthcare industry, but ultimately one poor decision changed everything. Courtney’s post was posted on Facebook at 8:33 A.M. Police officers and firefighters were notified of the crash just one minute later at 8:34 A.M. Officers were able to retrieve Courtney’s phone at the scene of the wreckage. Her Facebook post was still on the screen. It read, “The happy song makes me HAPPY.” While discussing the tragic accident with various media outlets, Police Lieutenant Chris Weisner compared Courtney’s accident with numerous public service announcements airing on the Internet, TV, and even radio that warn against texting and driving. Weisner stated, “We’ve all see these graphic advertisements on TV, this was real life.” A video of Weisner’s interview with footage from one of these PSA’s is provided in the video below:
Courtney’s accident has received widespread media attention. It’s a story that we all think “will never happen to us,” but in reality, anyone of us could have been in Courtney’s position that day. This type of story happens too frequently to ignore.
Courtney was just 32-years-old and in the prime of her life. Her death was easily preventable. While driving, the key thing to remember is “it can wait.” Please SHARE this tragic story with everyone you know and help raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving.