Widower Speaks out About Distracted Driving

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If you use your mobile phone in any capacity while driving, you may want to listen to this message from a Belmont County man that lost his wife to a distracted driver. 

You may also be surprised to see what the killer did and how much time she spent in prison. 

Carl and Gayle Jackowski of Morristown had just celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary in Oklahoma with loved ones. They were on their beloved Harley trike heading home when they decided to stop off for groceries in Pickerington. Never did they think that stop would change their lives forever, “She took part of me with her when she died,” said the grieving widower, Carl Jackowski.

The accident happened on July 16, 2014. Jackowski and numerous state documents say that a woman was talking on the phone when she nearly missed her exit and at the last minute she made a quick turn from the passing lane to the exit ramp. That’s when she hit the Jackowski’s, “When we got hit, it just felt like a bump and go and I got to thinking real quick, she didn’t stop, the car didn’t stop. Then I felt the guardrail and I looked back and that’s when I saw my wife flying through the air,” Carl recalled from that awful day.

The woman responsible left the scene of that accident, while Carl tried to get to his wife, “I went to her side and tried to keep her calm and get her to talk to me and she died in my arms. The only words I got out of her were ‘I hurt’.”

It took investigators eight months to track the woman down. In the meantime, according to other state records, the woman had taken her car to be cut into pieces and sold those pieces off to various scrap yards. It was her father who finally turned her in.

In the end, the woman was only sentenced to four years in prison and after serving 16 months in prison, she was released. She remains on home confinement for five years and cannot drive for 13-years. That punishment doesn’t sit well with Carl, though, “I don’t think it’s harsh enough. I don’t think it’s harsh enough.”

Carl just has his sweet memories of his loving wife Gayle, who would knit you an afghan blanket or cancer cap, just because she could. He also has a new riding partner, his Siberian Husky, ‘Smuck’.

Carl reached out to 7News to tell his story because he says that distracted driving can be a death sentence and take away a person’s loved ones in the blink of an eye.

He urges everyone to get off the road before taking that call or checking that text.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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