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Utahn shares remorse of texting accident through documentary

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SALT LAKE CITY — Reggie Shaw doesn't even remember what the text message was about, but every day he remembers the two men he killed while texting and driving.

"That's my biggest regret: taking fathers away from families," Shaw said.

Shaw was one of the first in Utah, and in the country to face serious consequences for killing another driver while texting behind the wheel. Now, his powerful safety message reaches people around the world as part of an AT&T documentary by director Werner Herzog, that can be seen on YouTube.

"The only thing on my mind was me," Shaw said. "It was a selfish act, one that I wish I could go back and change. But, I can't."

Shaw was on his way to work from Tremonton to Logan the morning of September 22, 2006, driving on State Route 30 in Cache County.

"On my way to work, I'm texting and reading messages," he said in the documentary, telling his story. "I go across the centerline, and I hit another car."

He clipped the victim's car, forcing it into a spin before a truck hit it, and plowed it off the road. Keith O'Dell, 50, and James Furfaro, 38, were killed.

"There's not a day that goes by that i don't think about that mistake," Shaw said.

Herzog portrays Shaw's story and three others in the documentary, "From One Second to the Next." It's already had more than one million views on YouTube.

Shaw made no excuses for his actions that killed the two fathers. Shaw said that the crash was completely preventable, and that his behavior was selfish.

"While I was driving, I decided that texting and driving was more important to me than those two men were to their families," he said in the film.

When Shaw was sentenced for the crime, the judge told him to share his message with young drivers through assemblies at Utah high schools. He is currently finished serving the sentence, but he still tells his story across the country so others don't have to relive it.

It's not worth it. It's not worth the pain and harm that you'll cause yourself or someone else.

–Reggie Shaw

"It's not worth it," he said. "It's not worth the pain and harm that you'll cause yourself or someone else."

When Shaw sees other motorists out on the road texting and driving, he said it scares him, and when he reads about other fatalities caused by texting, it hurts him inside.

"It should have been obvious to me then how dangerous it was, and it should be obvious to people now how dangerous it is."

The daughter of one of Shaw's victims also spoke in the documentary about how she found a way to forgive Shaw. He said that friendship helps him better understand what those families endure every day.

"The pain, the trials and the heartache that come on a regular basis, and I caused that," he said.

Shaw said he'll continue to share his message with young drivers in Utah and across the country.

"I did something terrible," Shaw said. "Someone once told me, that to be a good member of society, you have to give more than you take. I took two people's lives. It's impossible to give that back."

Shaw has continued to reach as many people as possible with the lesson he learned the hard way.


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Jed Boal


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