distracted driving

Fullenkamp family

In the blink of a fly

It was a sunny, clear-blue-sky day on June 16, 2018. It also was a day that would forever change the lives of Leah Fullenkamp and her family. 

While he was driving his tractor on the roadway, a distracted driver — shopping on her phone and, based on crash reconstruction analysis, distracted for a full 16 seconds — plowed into the tractor and took John’s life. 

From that moment, everything changed. John’s death left Leah to raise their children, ranging in age from 8 months old to 9 years, by herself. “I lost my husband, my partner, and the father of my children,” Leah says. “Life got hard — really hard — and it happened instantly.”

Car crash

Costly diversions

More and more people get behind the wheels of cars these days with a phone or a sandwich in hand — or in any number of other attention-hogging situations — and give less and less of their concentration to driving safely.

From mere property damage to ruining — or ending — lives, some of those costs are easier to figure out than others. According to a survey of electric cooperatives in Ohio, for example, it costs $2,576, on average, to replace a pole that has been damaged in a car crash. Generally, that’s paid by the driver’s insurance, but not always. There are other costs, too. 

Roadside crew with danger sign

Danger zones

The constant presence of road crews, traffic cones, and orange barrels on Ohio highways, byways, and township roads is a way of life for Ohio drivers.

In the wee morning hours of Aug. 28, 2019, a line crew from Lancaster-based South Central Power Company was called to address a power hazard along State Route 73 near Hillsboro. An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper guarded the zone while the crew established a new traffic path for drivers, setting cones and putting caution lights in place. As the linemen were about to begin work, the trooper confirmed that the work site met construction zone safety standards and headed out.