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Texting & driving student's teacher shares tough lesson

4:22 PM, Apr 12, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER -- The parents of a University of Northern Colorado student who died in crash after texting and driving is sharing his last message.

At 5:16 p.m. on April 3, Greeley Police Officers responded to a single-vehicle rollover crash. The driver of the car, 22-year-old Alexander Heit, was killed.

Officers say Heit was traveling east on O Street from 35th Avenue. Witnesses say he had his head down, and drifted into oncoming traffic. Investigators say when Heit looked up, he over-corrected, and rolled his car.

Officers found Heit's cell phone in the car. Visible on the display was a text message conversation with the last received text at 5:16 p.m. There was a partial response typed below, but it was never sent.

His parents released an image of that last unfinished message, hoping it will help save lives.

"I can't bear the thought of anyone else having to go through something like this," Sharon Heit, Alexander's mom, said.

Even though laws have been passed to make texting and driving illegal, investigators say it's still happening.

"Unfortunately, when we think to ourselves, 'I'll just do it this one time,' we are fooling ourselves," Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner said.

The Heit's hope Alex's accident can be a learning experience for others.

"Please, vow to never, never text and drive. In a split second you could ruin your future, injure or kill others, and tear a hole in the heart of everyone who loves you. And in honor of Alex's memory, please do something kind for a stranger who needs help, as Alex always wished for a world where people were kinder to each other," Sharon Heit said.

In Alex's honor, his family is working on a wildlands rebuild project with friends and neighbors.

His classmates in the Audiology department at the University of Northern Colorado are collecting donations for that project.

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