Posted: Wednesday, September 19th 2012 at 4:23pm
Flowery Branch teen lends support to anti-texting and driving campaign
By B.J. Williams Editor
ATLANTA - A Hall County teen was among those who joined the national "No Text on Board Pledge Day" in Atlanta Wednesday.
The pledge signing took place at Grady High School in Atlanta as part of AT&T's "Txtng & Driving…It Can Wait" program to educate drivers about the dangers of texting while driving.
Anna Leigh Stewart, a 16-year-old junior at Flowery Branch High School, was one of the speakers at the Wednesday event, telling students and others in the audience about a texting and driving accident that left her and her older sister seriously injured.
Stewart said the accident happened four years ago when a teen driver, who was texting, swerved head-on into the girls' vehicle to avoid hitting a school bus.
She said both she and her sister Cara continue physical therapy as a result of the injuries they suffered four years ago.
"My sister spent about six weeks in a cast for her plate [in her pelvis] and she spent a year in a wheelchair," said Stewart.
As for her own injuries, Stewart noted that she suffered from scoliosis before the accident and now her back is fused at age 16.
Stewart is the reigning Miss Georgia Peach and, as a result of her experience, she has adopted the "It Can Wait" campaign as her pageant platform.
Even though she knows first-hand the extreme danger of texting and driving, Stewart still took a turn behind the wheel of the simular provided by AT&T. The simulator is basically as stationery vehicle equipped to allow "drivers" to experience the difficulty of texting and driving.
"Mine [her text message] was 'I just got out of school. I'm on my way home.' And you have to hold the steering wheel and try to drive while teexting that message and mine was awful. I couldn't do it," she said.
Stewart said she hopes that she will be able to bring the campaign to her own campus in Flowery Branch. She said she would like to share information with not only her classmates, but also fellow citizens of Flowery Branch in the coming weeks.
Others attending Wednesday's event at Grady High School included:
Dr. Dave Propst, Asst. Principal, Grady High School
Dr. Vincent Murray, Principal, Grady High School
Ms. Kathleen Washington, Athletic Director, Grady High School
Ms. Judy Agerton, AT&T Regional Vice President
Mr. Keith Holmes, AT&T VPGM
Mr. Dennis Boyden, AT&T Regional Director
Mr. Harris Blackwood, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety
Mr. Brian Ortiz-Moreno, AT&T Employee
Ms. Kristin Bernhard, Governor’s education policy advisor
Ms. Brenda Muhammad – BoE District 1
Mrs. Cecily Harsh-Kinnane BoE District 3
Dr. Howard Grant , BoE Board Administrator
Pat Gardner, State Representative
Mr. Kaziem Woodbury, VOX Teen Communications
Sheriff Ted Jackson, Fulton County
Council President Ceasar Mitchell, Atlanta City Council
Councilman Kwaanza Hall, Atlanta City Council
Councilman Aaron Watson, Atlanta City Council
Mr. Mikkal Murunga, APS - External Affairs Manager
Major Whitmire, Zone Five Commander APD
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