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Texting while driving a deadly specter for friends of Clifton B. Gibbs

The dangerous mix of driving and texting was detailed in a story I wrote a couple of years ago while exploring journalism as the iTeen reporter for Tri-State Defender.

The dangerous mix of driving and texting was detailed in a story I wrote a couple of years ago while exploring journalism as the iTeen reporter for Tri-State Defender. Never in a million years did I think someone I knew and cared about would fall victim to such danger.

 
Clifton B. Gibbs, with his longtime girlfriend, Larissa Redmond. (Courtesy photo)

On February 1, my day was going about as normal – laughing with friends, attending classes at Christian Brothers University and going to work, etc. I did not know that a friend of mine I had been in a terrible accident. His name was Clifton B. Gibbs.

Clif, as many of us called him, was a former classmate and the longtime boyfriend of one of my dear friends, Larissa Redmond. He’d graduated from Christian Brothers University in 2011 with a degree in Business Administration and also was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. His future appeared bright.

Then came news that Clif’s life was dangling after a car crash. Witnesses told police that he was driving southbound on South Third St. when a northbound vehicle crossed over into opposing traffic and struck Clif’s vehicle head on about 2 p.m. A three-vehicle crash yielded multiple people critically injured.

I, along with numerous others, reeled from the initial reports, which included the detail that the driver whose car crossed lanes and had been texting at the time. No charges had been filed as of Wednesday (Feb. 8) afternoon, and there was no mention of texting while driving in the police report, which did note that the investigation was ongoing.

At the hospital, we waited for news of Clif’s condition and comforted Larissa. People were praying that he would pull through. We all had faith he would be fine. It felt like a nightmare and we were all ready to wake up from it.

Two days later, February 3, Clifton died surrounded by friends and family. So many people loved and cared for him; even to this day, his death doesn’t seem real.

As I write this reflection, I acknowledge that the official cause of the accident has not been determined. Still, texting is now interwoven with my thoughts of Clif’s last days. Pivoting off of the early reports, I took a vow to never text while driving. I am not going back on that, no matter the official determination. Texting is one of the leading causes of car accidents, and it’s got to stop.

I ask that you please take the challenge to not text and drive. A text message can wait; life is too precious to take such a risk. In memory of Clifton Gibbs, Larissa is starting a Clifton B. Gibbs’ fund against texting and driving.

Clif was an organ donor. I learned that his organ donations can help two to three people and his tissue donation may help up to 50.

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

Wake: Friday, Feb. 10, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.

Funeral: Saturday, Feb. 11, at 1 p.m. at Mississippi Boulevard.

Burial: New Park Cemetery on Horn Lake, with the repast at Mississippi Blvd. directly following the burial.


 

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