Mother of boy killed in distracted driving accident hopes others will learn from tragedy

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Distracted Driving Week 2019

Distracted driving is a growing problem in Illinois and across the country as drivers are tempted by their cell phones, to take their attention off the road.

In 2017 nearly 3200 lives were lost in distracted driving crashes. And it's not just cellphones. It's devices, it's eating, putting on makeup, playing with the radio, talking to passengers - anything which pulls your focus off the roads.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is trying to crack down on the problem.  It is Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week.

Patrols will increase as will signs, radio ads and TV campaigns.

It is all in hopes of preventing what happened to many families, including the Millers from west suburban Bolingbrook.

Adam Miller was born in July of 2003. His mother Cheryl said he was loud, exuberant and loved trains.

“It was wonderful to see him set up the whole train set … and make all the different shapes,” she said. “And he would watch the engine pull the rest of the train along.”

By the time he began Kindergarten Adam became a big brother to little Eli. He fell in love with school and wanted to be a teacher.

On November 15th 2008, a flat tire left Adam and his dad on the side of Plainfield-Naperville Road.

“My husband and Adam went on an errand, just in the area,” Miller said. “I get a phone call that I have to report to (the hospital).. and I kept asking, ‘Is my son okay is my son okay is my son okay?’ And the paramedic kept saying, ‘Just go to Edward Hospital.  Just go to Edward Hospital.’”

Adam was flown to Childrens Memorial in Chicago while his dad was treated for minor injuries. Their family would never be the same.

Adam lost his life at 5-years-old when another driver rear ended their parked car going 55 miles an hour.

Adam was laying in the bed with machines,” Miller said.  “(The doctor) came in and told he me was brain dead.”

“They interviewed (the other driver) and he said he never saw the car,” Miller said. “He said that a unlit cigar still in its wrapper had fallen off the passenger seat and he was bending down to pick it up and that’s why he didn’t see.”

That driver received two tickets; one for speeding another for failing to prevent an accident.

“I was basically outraged,” Miller said. “How is this possible that my son is dead and there’s no there’s no accountability?”

Over the years Miller has been instrumental in getting distracted driving laws on the books.

Today Adam would be nearly 16-years-old. He will never learn to drive but hopefully his life story will teach others to do it more responsibly.


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