On August 25th, 2019 our son, Kevin, became the victim of vehicular manslaughter. He was in a Lyft vehicle on his way to the Sacramento Airport to attend the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals Conference in Portland. He was only 10 minutes from the airport when traffic came to a stop. The Lyft vehicle was hit from behind due to a distracted driver who took their eyes off the road and never noticed the traffic had stopped. The at-fault driver was driving a Chevy Tahoe and hit the Honda Lyft vehicle at 60-70 mph, killing Kevin, sending the Lyft driver to the ICU, and causing a 4-car pile-up.
The at-fault driver refused medical care and was able to walk away unharmed from the chaos and devastation she had caused. The at-fault driver would later be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
Kevin tragically left behind his bride of only two months. His wife, Lu, has to cope with this senseless loss and rebuild her life without him. Kevin’s twin sister, Kristi, will have to endure their birthday without him every year for the rest of her life. Our family has been devastated and will forever have broken hearts as a result of this preventable collision.
Kevin had a deep passion for transportation safety and active transportation planning. He received a Master of City and Regional Planning and a Master of Science in Engineering, each with a Transportation Planning Specialization from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2018. As a transportation consultant at Kittelson & Associates, Kevin lived out his passion by enthusiastically helping communities build safe, effective, and sustainable transportation systems for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.
The distracted driver that took Kevin’s life had a choice and made a selfish decision that impacted the other people on the road. All drivers must keep in mind that every time they pick up their phone to take a call or to send or read a text they are simultaneously endangering their own and others’ lives.
Right now at any given intersection drivers can be seen casually scrolling or texting on their phones. That creates a false sense of security that distracted driving is normal and not harmful, and a mentality of “everybody else does it”. As a society, we have grown accustomed to distracted driving. These actions need to become as taboo as to drink and drive.
Currently, we are working with our Assemblyman to introduce legislation to encourage safe driving skills. We do not want to see one more family suffer as we have from this type of needless tragedy.