Orange for Owen

Monday, October 17, 2011
Last week my dear childhood friend Sue urged her Facebook friends to "like" a certain page. Now while I pay attention to what my Facebook friends are asking, I don't always heed their advice. But something about the sweet face of a young boy displayed next to the link got me to click it. I don't know, it's something about children that pulls on my heart strings.

I was taken to this Facebook page, Orange 4 Owen.

I was heartbroken when I read Owen's story. In short, Owen who was eight years old was killed on March 17, 2011 when he was struck by a 17 year old distracted driver while crossing a street in a crosswalk with his family. The accident occurred in front of Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The driver readily admitted to all charges that were filed.


Out of this horrible tragedy, Owen's Foundation was created to help raise awareness of distracted driving and prevent this from happening to another innocent pedestrian. In addition to raising awareness, the Foundation is striving to implement LED Solar Crosswalk Signs at the intersection where Owen was killed. The Foundation has also created orange bracelets available for purchase with all funds going to the Foundation. To purchase, email for details and pricing.

This tragedy touches me in several ways. I grew up in central Pennsylvania, not far from the site of the accident. Although I no longer live there, my ties to the area remain strong. It holds a special place in my heart.

As the parent of a 9 year old, I can't imagine the pain and suffering that Owen's family has endured. And they were witnesses to the accident. The pain must be unbearable on a good day.

I think we can all admit to being distracted drivers at least once. Learning of Owen's story has most definitely made me more conscious about picking up my phone to "quickly check something". It's just not necessary. Keep your eyes on the road.

This update was posted on the Facebook wall on October 12. If nothing else, hopefully it brings some peace to Owen's family.

"We received the sentencing letter for the driver that killed Owen. Her PA driver's license is suspended for 3 years and 6 months. She is to remain on probation until her 21st birthday, is to complete 400 community service hours of which 50 must be spent shadowing a crossing guard at an elementary school and 50 participating in an after school program with children. She also must attend counseling, complete a driver's education program, submit DNA and fingerprints, submit to drug/alcohol testing, pay court fees, attend high school and adhere to a 9pm curfew. In addition, the driver must respond in writing to all of the authors of the Impact Statements that were sent to the court."

I'll bet if you ask the distracted driver if the distraction that caused the accident was worth it, she'll tell you most emphatically, "NO". A phone call? An email? A text message? Applying lipstick? No. None of it is worth taking the life of another.

Please take a moment to head over to Orange 4 Owen and "like" the page. I would very much appreciate it. :)

All images are the property of Orange 4 Owen.

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