Distracted driving crash victim shares story with Gibson Co. students

TRENTON, Tenn. – One man wants to raise awareness to local students following a car crash that abruptly changed his life forever.

Fletcher Cleaves says that crash back in 2009 was caused by another driver who was distracted.

He says he wants to share his message to young drivers to prevent a tragedy like his from happening.

“A lady was texting and driving and ran me off the road. Unfortunately, we flipped over into a ditch,” said motivational speaker Fletcher Cleaves.

Cleaves spoke to students at Gibson County High School about how that accident shattered his life.

“Once I flipped into the ditch, it broke my neck in two places,” Cleaves said. “I was immediately paralyzed. All the things we think about as a 18-year-old were taken away from me, simply because someone was not paying attention while driving.”

Sending a text message and talking on a cell phone are just some of the things that defines distracted driving. Cleaves says it’s important to educate the community and students about the dangers of distracted driving.

“More than 50 percent of your body doesn’t work anymore,” Cleaves said. “Definitely tell them about safe driving and just give motivation out of my story to never give up and the sky is not the limit.”

The Tennessee Chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) sponsored Cleaves’ appearance to educate students on making smart decisions.

“He really gets to the deeper meaning that it’s not only about you, but it’s about others,” student Julianna Turner with SADD said.

“Whenever they hear and experience someone who has been affected by this, it really touches them,” student Brooke Siler with SADD said.

Cleaves says not only does he want to share the consequences of distracted driving, he also wants to motivate others to never give up.

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