Texting and driving accidents see increase nationally

LA CROSSE, WI - It's been more than a week since Sarah Von Drashek's 10-year-old daughter was hit by a car in downtown La Crosse, but she still hasn't shaken the fear that went through her mind that day.

"I was extremely upset, and scared," Von Drashek said. "The neighbor said she was hurt but was OK, but of course as a parent I was completely freaked out."

Ivy Von Drashek was rollerblading at the corner of West Avenue and Adams Street when she was hit by a passing car. The intersection is a busy one, just blocks away from Hamilton Learning Center, and is often traveled by students during the school year.

"Every day I tell them, 'Be careful at West Ave, be careful at West Ave,'" Von Drashek said of her three children, all of which attend the school. "This [street] is used by many kids going back and forth."

According to statistics by the National Security Council, 1.6 million accident involving texting and driving take place each year across the country. Local health experts say accidents like Ivy's are a strong reminder for drivers to just drive.

"Definitely over the last couple of years, we have seen an increase and that goes for the county of La Crosse as well, and even nationally they've seen quite a rise," Gundersen Health Systems Trauma Coordinator Kim Lombard said.


Lombard's advice to drivers is simple - don't text, talk or do anything to distract your eyes from the road.

"Just leave those cell phones off to the side until you're at your final destination," she said.

Von Drashek and Ivy aren't sure if the driver was texting or distracted, and he wasn't cited for any traffic violation. But both mother and daughter say the experience was frightening enough for them both to learn to take an extra look before crossing any busy intersection.

"She's lucky she wasn't hurt any worse than she was, we're lucky she wasn't hurt any worse than she was," Von Drashek said.

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