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Mother of teen hit by distracted driver speaks out

Another tragedy has occurred after a senior in high school was hit by a distracted driver who is suspected of running a red light. The young man, Thomas Northrup, is months away from earning his diploma, but now his future is unclear. An avid musician, Thomas enjoys playing viola in the Southside High School orchestra program and had plans for a bright future. Friends and family say they are proud to know him. His mother says Thomas was on track to attend college in the fall.

On January 24, Thomas was walking to school like any other day. His mother, Jackye, expected a text message upon his arrival at school, and Thomas always sent one. When his message never came that day, she began to feel concerned.

“I remember him leaving, I always remember him leaving in the morning,” Jackye Northrup, Thomas’s mother, told 5 News. “And he’s supposed to text me where he’s at, when he gets there, and I hadn’t received the text,” Jackye recalls.

After a few tense moments, Jackye finally received a call from the school’s principal simply saying that Thomas had been hit by a vehicle. Without hesitation, she went to the local hospital where her son was being treated.

“The chaplain met me at the door with the doctors and said that it didn’t look good,” Jackye shared. Medical professionals moved him to a hospital in Little Rock, where doctors worked hard to save his life. He is expected to return to high school and graduate at some point, but the road to recovery will not be easy.

The police explained that Thomas was only a few blocks away from his school when the accident happened. A small pickup truck being driven by a man named Adam Shaffer, who police say, had Valium in his system, struck Thomas while he was crossing the street. Now, the family has one message for other drivers on the road, and it comes with the hope that another tragedy like this can be avoided. They want distracted drivers, intoxicated drivers, and anyone on the road who isn’t paying attention to reevaluate their decisions and drive more safely.

“Don’t do it, in a blink of an eye, my son’s world was turned upside down,” Jackye warned other drivers. According to American Traffic Solutions, roughly two Americans die every day because of red light runners.

Locals in Fort Smith, Arkansas are fed up. McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm‘s Distracted Driving Awareness program has focused on raising awareness about the serious dangers of distracted driving. They hope to convince others that talking and texting while driving, intoxicated driving, or performing any other activity that draws attention away from the task of driving, is not worth the risk. So far, hundreds of future drivers have pledged to avoid distracted driving when they get on the road. The entire legal team is committed to this cause, and we have already seen the difference it can make in our community.

For more information on this tragic story, read more at 5Newsonline.com.