Police: Texting leads to crash

News Photo by Julie Riddle Emergency medical technicians and police clear the roadway at the site of a two-vehicle crash in Alpena Wednesday morning. Police indicate the driver, who was hospitalized, was distracted by a text message.

ALPENA — Distracted driving led to a two-car crash Wednesday, police said, resulting in one person being hospitalized.

A pickup truck was stopped at the intersection of South Ripley Boulevard and South First Avenue in Alpena when it was struck from behind by a red Ford Explorer.

Lt. Eric Hamp of the Alpena City Police Department, who was on the scene, reported that the driver of the Explorer had received a text message moments before the crash. The driver took his eyes off the road to look at the text and slammed into the back of the stopped pickup.

The driver of the Explorer was transported to MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena for non-life-threatening injuries. The driver and passenger in the pickup were examined on the scene but refused further medical treatment.

The driver of the Explorer was cited for careless driving.

The Alpena City Fire Department also responded.

Hamp warned drivers to avoid allowing themselves to be distracted by electronic devices.

“People need to put their phones down when they are driving, that’s the bottom line,” Hamp said.

Reading text messages while operating a motor vehicle is illegal.

Drivers may feel that dictating texts is a viable alternative to traditional typed texting. Hamp cautions against considering that a safer option.

“You’re still not hands-free,” said Hamp. “You’re still fumbling with the cell phone in your hand, trying to hit the microphone to talk into it.”

Hamp acknowledges that, for many of us, cell phones have become an indispensable device that we reach for without even thinking about it. He sees Wednesday morning’s crash as another reminder to be aware of the importance of our actions behind the wheel.

“We all have to be smarter about this,” he said. “It’s a good reminder just to be careful and not be grabbing that phone while you’re driving.”

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or jriddle@thealpenanews.com.