Utah man featured in documentary on dangers of texting and driving

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 13 2013 2:15 p.m. MDT

It's been nearly seven years since two men were killed because Reggie Shaw was texting and driving.

Pat Wellenbach, AP

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LOGAN — It's been nearly seven years since two men were killed because Reggie Shaw was texting and driving.

"Knowing every day that you killed two people is one of the hardest things that you can live with," Shaw says in a 35-minute documentary released last week as part of AT&T's It Can Wait campaign.

"From One Second to the Next," directed by Werner Herzog, the award-winning writer and director whose films include "Gizzly Man," "Rescue Dawn," and "Encounters at the End of the World," shows the lives of four people — two who were hit by a texting driver and two drivers who killed others while texting and driving.

Shaw, of South Jordan, said filming the documentary was one of the most difficult things he's done, despite traveling around the country reliving his mistake and telling his story.

"Werner Herzog was great, and he showed us a lot of respect," he said, "but he challenged me and questioned me in ways that I've never been challenged and questioned. It was a very difficult and humbling experience for me, and I'm extremely grateful to have had it."

Shaw, now 26, pleaded guilty to two counts of negligent homicide, spent 30 days in jail and was required to do 100 hours of public speaking on the dangers of texting and driving following the crash that killed rocket scientists Keith O'Dell, 50, and James Furfaro, 38, who were on their way to work at ATK Launch Systems Group.

Shaw continues to speak to groups about the dangers of texting and driving, even though the 100 hours were served years ago. As part of his sentence, he was also required to read "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo.

After the accident, O'Dell's daughter, Megan, reached out to forgive Shaw, and the two of them have grown close, he said.

But forgiveness is something Shaw said he's struggled with since the accident.

"How am I ever going to forgive myself for committing such a terrible act? I don't know how to answer that yet," he said.

In the documentary, Shaw recounts the 2006 accident in Logan. He was driving on state Route 30 when he crossed the double yellow line and clipped the Saturn O'Dell and Furfaro were traveling in. The Saturn spun into oncoming traffic and was hit by a Ford F-250. O'Dell and Furfaro died instantly.

"I remember the sound of the cars hitting, glass breaking and tires squealing," he said.

Shaw said he was driving to work, texting and reading messages.

"I don't remember what I was texting," he says in the film. "I don't remember what the message said. That's how important it was."

Shaw becomes very emotional as he describes looking at photos of the car after the crash.

"All I can think about is those families, those two men," he said. "While I was driving, I decided that texting and driving was more important to me than those two men were to their families. And how selfish that was of me to make that decision to text and drive."

AT&T plans to distribute the film to more than 40,000 high schools, as well as government agencies and safety organizations.

The film is an expansion of the 30-second "Texting & Driving … It Can Wait" advertisement launched in May by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

"From One Second to the Next" is featured on the It Can Wait website, where visitors can pledge not to text, e-mail, surf the Web or watch videos while on the road. The site also features a texting and driving simulator where people can see first hand how dangerous it really is.

Now, when Shaw sees people texting driving on the road, it scares him, he said. He said he wishes he could pull them over for five minutes and tell them there are people who care about them.

He would tell them, "I promise you, they want you to stop driving and texting," he said.

Email: eeagar@deseretnews.com

Twitter: EmileeEagar

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