On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, the Azusa Police Department worked to spread an important message about the dangers of distracted driving. The department's social media team published a series of posts on the Twitter social media platform, starting at 7 am. This campaign was done as part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Throughout the day, viewers read messages which were coming from a young girl named Casey's perspective. Tweets about Casey's day were sent out until approximately 6 pm, when Casey recounted the last moments of her life. Casey's full name, her picture and the manner of her tragic death, were then revealed to viewers.
On July 17, 2009, Casey Feldman had been walking to her job in Ocean City, New Jersey. While she was crossing a street, Anthony Lomonaco was driving his delivery van towards the intersection where she was crossing. Lomonaco became distracted as he placed his cup of ice tea in the passenger's cup holder. Lomonaco accelerated as he did this, and he literally ran over Casey. She died during surgery at 8:55 pm that night.
Casey's parents, Dianne Anderson and Joel Feldman, are the founders of The Casey Feldman Foundation, which can be found at caseyfeldmanfoundation.org. The foundation supports individuals, groups, and institutions whose interests and goals align with those of Casey. Additionally, Joel created EndDD.org, which is an educational website to help end distracted driving. They worked in partnership with the Azusa Police Department on the project.
Distracted driving is an epidemic in our country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people have been killed by distracted driving since 2015. In fact, while these messages were being sent out, an officer issued a citation to a mother who was texting while driving. She was traveling with her three children in the vehicle. Her excuse was she needed to send a quick email. These types of "quick" emails, texts, and other distracting activities can have deadly results.
If you would like to view the messages which were sent out during this campaign, you can visit AzusaPD.org/CaseysStory.
This campaign was made possible through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.