Every now and then you run across a story that really pulls at your heart and shows just how fragile life really is. This story is both tragic and horrific. It puts one’s own life into perspective. What happened to the Schmidt family from Beecher, Illinois on the morning of July 24th, was all due to a senseless distraction of a young 25-year-old – texting while driving.
Lindsey Schmidt, a 29-year-old, pregnant mother was driving her three young sons to Bible school camp at 8:30 in the morning. Suddenly their Subaru was rammed by a pickup truck that blew a stop sign, killing her and 1-year-old Kaleb instantly.
The truck driven by Sean B. Woulfe, crashed into Schmidt’s Subaru Outback so severe that Schmidt’s car was sent barreling off the road and into a cornfield. It was just one big heap of metal. The two boys, Owen, 6, and Weston, 4, were initially taken to St. Margaret Hospital in Indiana before being airlifted and put on life support at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago.
According to the Will County Sheriff’s Office, the six-year-old was in a medically-induced coma.
Shortly after the accident, 4-year-old Weston and 6-year-old Owen also died due to injuries from the accident. In other words, this entire family was wiped out in a split second due to a driver of a pickup truck running a stop sign due to a senseless distraction – texting.
Woulfe, 25, survived and was first taken to St. James Hospital before being transferred to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. He is initially in stable condition after undergoing minor reconstructive surgery for a large laceration to his arm, according to authorities.
The grieving husband and father, Edward Schmidt had to face the reality. He would not only have to bury his wife, but all of his children, including his unborn child. This tragic nightmare could have easily been prevented had it not been for Woulfe’s texting while driving.
Charges against the driver are still pending. Texting while driving as the cause of the accident has not actually been proven in this case. Not yet anyway.
Investigators were working to determine if Woulfe should face charges. They are examining his cellphone and records to determine if he was texting when the crash occurred, said a spokesperson for the Will County Sheriff’s Department.
Police say Woulfe is cooperating with the investigation. He told police he had his cruise control set to 55mph, which is the speed limit.
Lindsey and her family were active in their church and the small, tight-knit Beacher community. Today a young father, Edward Schmidt, is mourning the loss of his wife and all of his children. He will never be whole again.
This close-knit community of Beecher has been heartbroken over such a devastating loss. Driving distracted because of texting is never worth it.
Whether Woulfe was texting or just speeding, really doesn’t matter. The fact is, he ran through a stop sign and in an instant, destroyed an entire family. He wiped out a young pregnant mother and her 3 kids. What a tragic accident all because of a distraction.
What text could have possibly been more important than the lives of this mother and her 3 sons? Was that text worth dying for? Was it really that vital?
Most states prohibit drivers from texting, including Illinois, where the fine for a first offense is $75. Technology is being developed to enable law enforcement to detect texting by drivers, but until then it remains a serious problem.
Statistics show people who drive while sending or reading text messages are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than other drivers. Texting while driving is now the top cause of death among teenagers. Believe me when I say….NO TEXT IS WORTH THE LIVES OF OTHERS! #Don’tTextAndDrive
A donation fund has been set up at First Community Bank and Trust for the Schmidt family. If you would like to donate to the fund, click here. Our prayers and heavy hearts are with the Edward Schmidt and his extended family, and the Beecher community.