Red Light Runners: Mom Speaks About Dangers Of Distracted Driving

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- A Fort Smith mom is speaking out about the dangers of distracted driving after her son was reportedly hit by a truck.

Thomas Northrup is a senior at Southside High School. A young man whom his family and friends say they are proud to know.

"Yesterday my son was ready for college,now he's in the hospital bed," Northrup's Mother Jackye said.

He was hit by a suspected red light runner while walking to school Jan. 24.

"I remember him leaving, I always remember him leaving in the morning. He's supposed to text me we are really close on texting where he's at and when he gets there, and I hadn't received the text," Jackye, his mother, said.

The next call Jackye remembers is a call from the school principal saying Thomas had been hit. Thomas was a few blocks from the school when driver Adam Shaffer ran a red light and hit him, according to police.

"His dad thought maybe it was just a broken leg, but it was worse," Jackye said.

Jackye said she remembers walking into a local hospital. She said, "The chaplain met me at the door with the doctors and said it didn't look good."

He was later taken to Little Rock where family members said a prayer and doctors helped him pull through, but Jackye says it will be a long road to recovery. He is expected to come home at some point and graduate high school, but until then the family leaves those who knowingly drive while distracted with one message.

The family said they hope one thing comes out of this tragedy: that distracted drivers, intoxicated drivers and those just not paying attention will take a look at their situation and make a few changes.

"Don't do it, in a blink of an eye my sons world was turned upside down," Jackye said.

Sixty Americans die every month because of red light runners, according to American Traffic Solutions. Lawmakers continue to discuss a study to put cameras at stop lights to ticket these drivers.

To keep up with Thomas' progress, click here.

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