Man who lost fiancee in crash caused by texting says ban is 'step in right direction'

Heather Hurd was killed by distracted driver in 08

DAVENPORT, Fla. - The new ban on texting while driving is a long time coming for a central Florida man who lost his fiancee in a horrible crash nearly six years ago.

Investigators determined the driver of a semi truck was texting, and never saw a line of nine cars stopped a red light.

"The said it was so fast, she didn't know what happened. It was instant," said Patrick Richardson, who has a fuzzy memory of the accident that killed Heather Hurd.

Patrick and Heather were the perfect match. They shared a passion for movies and everything Disney.

In fact, on January 3rd, 2008, the couple was en route to Disney to meet with a wedding planner.

They were less than two minutes away from their Davenport home when the accident happened.

Heather and another woman died. Patrick suffered serious injuries including a broken shoulder, neck, and fractured skull.

"My dad came in and this is actually the first thing I remember, is him sitting down with me and said, 'you're lucky. Heather was not'," he said.

"And I just lost it."

A section of Highway 27 near Sand Mine Rd. has since been designated the Heather Hurd Memorial Highway, and it's not the only thing bearing her name.

After her death, Heather's parents in Maryland became outspoken advocates to ban texting and driving.

Her dad helped pass "Heather's law" in their home state that bans texting and even talking on a phone without a hands-free device.

He pushed for a ban in Florida, and now he finally got one -- though it doesn't go as far as Maryland's law.

Starting Tuesday, texting is a secondary offense, meaning violators face a fine if they get pulled over for something else like speeding.

"This is definitely a step in the right direction," he said.

Patrick fell into a deep depression after the accident and recently married a woman he says picked him back up and helped him move on.

He hopes it's the new law and not another accident like his that makes people think twice about texting while driving.

"I just want to look at people and say 'would you drive drunk? No. Why are you (texting) then?' I just don't think people realize the danger in it," he said.

He admits he didn't even realize the danger until the day his life changed forever.

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