Woman hit by driver who was texting looks back after laws change

Posted at 7:43 PM, Aug 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-13 21:43:08-04

PRICE, Utah -- It's a parent's worst nightmare.

"We got a call and they told us that our daughter had been in an accident," Paula Houston said.

In January of 2013, her 18-year-old child was taken by Life Flight to Intermountain Healthcare.

"We found out she was injured by a man that was texting and driving," Paula said.

A distracted driver struck her daughter, Keri, while she was getting out of her car--which was parked on the side of the road.

"I went to get out, and he sideswiped me and almost severed my leg in two places and broke it in six places," Keri Houston said.

Keri spent three months in the hospital while doctors did everything they could to save her leg.

"It's amazing that I still have it," Keri said.

The 28-year-old driver who hit Keri did not have insurance or a license and was sentenced to one year in jail. But Keri said she'll have to live with the physical and emotional pain for the rest of her life.

"It just breaks my heart to see her still this injured," her mother said.

And Keri said the text could have waited.

"His last text was, ‘ha ha’ when he hit me,” she said.

And Utah Highway Patrol officials said the new cell phone law that went into effect in May could help prevent accidents like Keri's from happening.

"We're hoping to see people change their habits now, and the reason why is it costs people lives and injury and money," UHP Sgt. Todd Royce said.

Since the new law has been implemented, more than 400 stops have been made for people manipulating their cell phone while driving.

"We're seeing people who haven't quite changed their habits, and we're taking strict enforcement on that," Royce said.

And UHP officials, along with Keri and her family, hope to see people stop texting while driving.

"It's not worth losing your life or someone else's life over a text," Keri said.