Maize alum severely injured in texting and driving accident visits alma mater

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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MAIZE, Kan. -- A Maize High School alum and former college athlete severely injured in a texting and driving accident four years ago visited his alma mater Thursday to share a very important message.

Four seconds. That's how long Julie Breitenstein says her son Austin took his eyes of the road December 4, 2009. She says he was reading a text.

"Four seconds for him to realize he had veered off the highway and over correct. So four seconds has actually altered his life forever,” Julie Breitenstein said.

Austin crashed his truck on 235 just past central. He was 19 years old. His mother says he suffered severe brain trauma in the accident.. She tells us at first he couldn't do anything on his own, not even swallow. Four years later he has come a long way.

"He understands everything that's going on, he understands conversations, he reads books, he reads magazines, he reads newspapers, unfortunately he just can't speak,” Breitenstein said.

That's why for now, his mother is his voice. They've traveled to schools all over Kansas sharing Austin’s story.

"I needed to make the negative turn into a positive," Breitenstein said.

"We've got to stop. It has become an epidemic,” Breitenstein said.

The speech was part of Maize High School's week long “Don't Text and Drive Campaign.” They asked students to sign a pledge and will be putting up traffic signs on campus.

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