A TEXT TO DIE FOR... Young woman slams into tractor-trailer while texting love notes to boyfriend

  • Published
  • By Tim Barela
  • Torch Magazine
When a woman died in a car crash while texting love notes to her boyfriend earlier this year, a grieving Canadian man turned to Facebook to make an emotional appeal to all who would listen: Don't text and drive.

Mathieu Fortin created his Facebook page to warn others to avoid the same fate as his beloved Emy Brochu, 20. She perished Jan. 18 after her car slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer truck as it merged with traffic near Victoriaville, Quebec. Fortin titled the page, "Share this if it touches you! I love you Emy ... XOXO" and posted the texts they shared right before Brochu crashed.

The series of texts had Fortin expressing his love for Brochu before receiving her last text, which read (translated from French), "I love you too, and I will do all I can to make you happy."

Next Fortin tells her that he can't wait to get home from work so that he can "hear her beautiful voice" and "kiss her." Then the texts take on a different tone as Fortin grows increasingly alarmed that he hasn't heard from Brochu in a few hours.

"Is everything going well, my love?" Fortin wrote. "I'm a bit worried."

"The police investigation showed the use of a cell phone while driving was the cause of the accident," Fortin said on Facebook. "This conclusion came as a shock because during the tragedy, I was in a discussion with her."

Fortin says that reading the last messages "shatters my heart into a million pieces."

He urges others to pay heed.

"An accident can happen quickly," he wrote. "I hope every time you look at your cell phone while you're driving, you think of Emy and those who loved her. ... At what time is a text or an e-mail more important than life itself? At what point is something on your phone more important than the people who you love?"

According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use is involved in at least 24 percent of all vehicle crashes.

"Texting is a two-way street," said John Foreman, Air Education and Training Command Ground Safety Division. "Yes, the driver has responsibility not to text and drive. But if you are exchanging texts with someone who you know to be driving, you are putting their life at risk. You share in that responsibility."

Fortin agrees and said he is struggling to overcome the guilt for the role he played in the accident.

Fortin describes Brochu as a joyful, determined woman who had a wonderful future ahead of her.

On the Facebook site, he implores people to pass on his message to others. He said even if people don't kill themselves while texting and driving, they could kill someone else -- like a child crossing the road.

Fortin's posts generated dozens of responses from those expressing sympathy and promises to share his message.

"Be sure that from today, I never will text while driving," wrote Kéléann Decarie in a Facebook post on Fortin's site. "Thank you for sharing with us even though it's hard for you."