Local high school senior speaks out about distracted driving crash

Posted at 11:33 PM, Sep 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 23:34:08-04

Matt Reeves says what he did behind the wheel almost cost him his life.

On September 2nd, the Manchester High School senior was driving his mom's car when his cell phone fell from the console.

"It slid under the pedals. I slowed down, took my foot off the gas. I didn't feel like it would be that long to grab it, but when I came up it was too late," says Matt.

That's when the 17-year-old slammed right into an SUV that was waiting to make a turn.

"I saw the rear end of the black SUV and I just remember hitting it really hard," says Matt.

That SUV driver, who was alone, happened to be a nurse. She wasn't hurt and immediately went to help Matt while emergency crews headed their way.

Matt suffered several injuries, including fractures in his skull, nose, jaw and eye socket, an injured shoulder, a deep gash in his forehead and a severe concussion.

Now, almost one month after the crash, Matt is recovering at home.

"I'm pretty good. I just can't wait for the concussion to be over with," he says. "Headaches every day sucks."

However, Matt says he knows that things could have been much worse. He could have killed someone or killed himself - all because he was distracted.

He says it all happened in just seconds.

His mom, Linda, says "I know how close I was to losing him - over a split second, over a cell phone."

That's why she decided to share his story on Facebook.

She hoped to send a strong message about distracted driving.

Part of her post reads, "Let this be a wakeup call to everyone. Put the damn phones off and in a place you can't be tempted to reach for it. Matt was lucky. This could have had a different outcome."

Linda says they're now hearing from loved ones and strangers who say they've already changed their habits while driving.

Matt was cited for careless driving.

He now knows how quickly life can give us a lesson. Reaching for that phone - can wait.

"I won't touch it," he says.

Matt's mom is hopeful their story continues to reach others about the dangers of distracted driving.

She says, "I believe things happen for a reason and something bad, something good's gotta come out of it. And I think it's a strong message."