Jake was born on September 28, 1989 and was killed August 26, 2009 – just a month before his 20th birthday.
I miss Jake a lot. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and the things he would be doing if he were still here. Jake’s mom passed away when he was 9 years old and it seems the void left by her and Jake have been hard to fill in terms of those of us left behind to cope.
The crash happened on US 89/91 and Hyde Park Lane in Cache County. Jake was killed when he swerved to avoid hitting a car in front of him and rolled his truck. He wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. He sustained massive head injuries. Jake was flown by helicopter to a trauma center where he passed away early the next morning. He never regained consciousness after the crash.
My brother (Jake’s uncle) is the Police Chief in the town where the crash occurred and was the one who called me to let me know he’d been in an accident. Jake had always been such an active kid and had experienced several “accidents” on skateboards, bicycles, soccer fields and other outdoor-related injuries, but had always been a good driver. When my brother told me that the investigators at the scene had found Jake’s cell phone and concluded that he had been sending and receiving text messages just prior to the crash, I refused to believe that Jake could have done something like that!
Perhaps my son was no longer alive because he was paying attention more closely to his phone than the road in front of him. My first instinct after the crash was to protect Jake and not make him into any kind of a “poster child” for not texting and driving…then it dawned on me that perhaps Jake’s death could possibly help others (especially those his age) realize that it only takes a second of being distracted to change the lives of those you love and those around you FOREVER!
I am NOT anti-cell phone use…but I am pro-life. We’ve all driven distracted once in awhile. Jake was an amazing young man, a talented athlete, a loyal, compassionate brother to his siblings, and a loving son. Life is so much better with all of our young ones in it. PLEASE take a minute before you get in your car to turn off your cell phone and buckle up…let’s prevent any more unnecessary deaths.