Bexar County ranks as one of the worst in the state for deadly distracted driving crashes, but a group at Johnson High School called "Eyes on the Road" wants to help change that.
On Thursday, they held a safe driving event with partners from local law enforcement agencies, the Texas Department of Transportation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, University Hospital, and more. Among them was an SAPD officer who was personally impacted by distracted driving.
“In 2012, I got hit by a distracted driver," said SAPD Fusion Patrol Officer Jonathan Esquivel. "The guy was texting and driving, I was behind my patrol car getting things out of my vehicle. I saw a car coming up at me real fast, so I took off running. I wasn't even on the roadway. I got off the roadway, the guy sees my patrol car, swerves to miss me, and hits me from the side. I spent three months in ICU, three months in a rehab center, had to learn how to walk, talk, eat, how to do everything all over again. It was a painful experience, on my family, wife, kids, parents."
While Thursday's event was for teens, student organizers and Officer Esquivel say that they aren't the only ones that need a lesson.
"It's not only students and kids my age driving distracted, it’s parents, grandparents. You're not only putting yourself in danger, you're putting others in danger as well," Eyes on the Road member Ella Easley said.
Officer Esquivel is back on his feet and on patrol, but he doesn't want anyone else to go through what he did.
"I shouldn't have had to go through it. It was 100 percent avoidable. Put down that phone, leave it alone, and just drive, pay attention to the road," Officer Esquivel said.
The fine for texting and driving is up to $200, though doing it could have much greater costs.