George Fandrick was one of the honest, loving, adored man many had the pleasure of knowing. He was a devoted grandfather and great-grandfather. I had an immense connection with my grandfather and he was an influential part of my upbringing. He would spend hours outside teaching me sports, to swim and of course he was not afraid to pick up a Barbie doll. I remember the day that I finally became a parent and he cancelled his entire calendar for that week to be there when my first son was born. He taught me life lessons that I hold with me today and have begun to pass down to my children. As time grew on, my grandfather decided to retire to Florida and live the life he had dreamed of in his condo in the sun every day. Though he was 2,000 miles away, we spoke every day and he visited often.
On January 16, 2013, my grandfather was on his way home from a breakfast with friends. He was going 25 mph when a pickup truck barreled into his car, flipping his car numerous times before the car landed in the ditch. My grandfather was killed instantly due to blunt trauma to his body.
I remember pulling into the parking lot from my lunch break at the law firm I was working at when I saw my husband’s car. He knew what this news would do to me. I melted into his arms and everything went blank. I had just spoken with my grandfather the night before and now he was gone.
Our family flew out to Florida after the funeral to handle his affairs which included speaking to police officers, going to the crash site and visiting the car at the junk yard so we could retrieve any belongings. The image of his car will haunt me forever.
While we were in Florida, we learned that the driver of the pick-up was not only talking on the phone on speaker while driving, but sending a text message at the same time. He walked away with a careless driving ticket and we received no apology. We even were told that at least he was 82 years old and lived a long life already. According to the coroner’s report, my grandfather was very healthy for his age and could have lived many more years. It does not matter that he was 82 years old, a life is a life and it was cut short, no matter what the age, by someone who couldn’t put the phone down.
Distracted Driving is an epidemic that is growing and it can happen to anyone, young or old. Losing my grandfather was the worse experience I went through. The fact he was ripped from our family from something that could have been prevented haunts me to this day. We promote awareness every day with PADD in support of saving lives both young and old and anyone in between.
Karen and I met one day for an interview she was doing for a story about Nikki and PADD. Although Karen didn't mention her grand father was killed by a distracted driver, I could tell something was different with this reporter. Karen wanted to know every detail of Nikki's life and the truth about Nikki's crash and the events that took place at the crash scene. In shock by what went on she went to get all the facts as everything is now public record. Her story in philly2philly.com would break records in views and shares, crashing their server more then 5 times. It was a little while later that I found out why that story was one of the most read stories about a distracted driving victim. Because a distracted driving victim wrote a story about a distracted driving victim! So sad that our lives brought us together because of the reckless, careless driving of a distracted driver.