Local News

Distracted driving law provides relief for heartbroken grandmother

SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington drivers could now face a $136 fine if caught driving distracted by an electronic device. For one Lavera Wade, that is a small price. In 2014, her grandson paid with his life.

"He drifted across the centerline and had a head on with a semi. He was killed instantly," Wade said.

In the seconds before the crash, Sam Thompson, 20, was texting. That mistake cost Sam his life, and caused his family a life full of heartache.

"You lose all the dreams you had for that child," Wade said.

Sam's family was left heartbroken, but they turned that pain into something positive. They share Sam's story in schools across Washington, educating young people on the dangers of texting and driving. Last spring, Wade took her grandson's tragic story to Olympia.

"I flew over, rented a car, got an Air BnB," Wade said.

She spent a week testifying before the Washington house and senate.

"We all pounded on the senators' doors, and the legislators," Wade said. She joined other families in demanding a law to crack down on distracted driving.

"We campaigned for all this time so that others wouldn't have that empty chair at their table," Wade said. Her persistence paid off. Wade stood next to Governor Jay Inslee as he signed the E-DUI law. She even got to take home one of the pens.

"We know it won't stop everyone, but we hope that it will save untold lives," Wade said.