ST. MICHAEL, Minn. -- Public safety officials and others say a Coloradocollege student's death serves as the latest tragic reminder of the dangers of texting and driving.
On April 3, 22-year-old Alexander Heit died in a car crash near Greeley, CO. This week, his parents released the text message their son was typing when he lost control of his car.
"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," Sharon Heit, Alex's mother, wrote in a statement.
Minnesota public safety officials want to make sure people are hearing the Heit's message. The Department of Public Safety retweeted several references and articles about the Heit accident. According to officials,more than 100 teenagers died on Minnesota roads in the lastthree years, with prom season and summer proving the deadliest time of year.
At least one St. Michael-Albertville is also doing his part to carry the message forward.
"[It} definitely just proves that it's happening out in the country right now," said 18-year-old Eli Guillou, a senior at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
"In a split-second, you just saw the guy looked down. It changes life right away," he added.
Guillou has already submitted an entry for a Department of Public Safety contest for Public Safety Announcements. The contest invites teensto create 30-second spots -- focusing on either distracted driving or seatbelts.
For Guillou -- who won the contest last year -- it's about more than submitting the winning entry. It's about sending the right message.
"It's helping me realize that I wasn't just doing that for the contest. Actually getting the word out and having people see this video will actually help people think about it, before they actually look at their phone while they're driving," Guillou said.
Teenagers interested in participating in the contest can send or drop off their DVDs to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Buckle Up Teens Contest, 445 Minnesota Street, Suite 150, St. Paul, MN 55101. Entries are due on Monday, April 15. Online voting will determine the winner in May. That person receives $1,000 and will see his or her spot air during the MTV Video Music Awards. The contest is sponsored by AAA Minnesota/Iowa.
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