Rock Island man accused of setting downtown fire

Crash reinforces crusade against distracted driving

A Moline woman says that texting while driving led to a bizarre one-car crash on Interstate 74 Tuesday afternoon.

Jennifer DeClerck, 24, is listed in fair condition at Genesis East. That’s after undergoing surgery for multiple injuries.

Less than 24 hours after the crash, Jennifer Parsons takes a close look at the car. She’s the distracted driving coordinator for Iowa’s Traffic Safety Bureau. This evidence delivers a painful and powerful message.

“Everyone needs to know that texting and driving is not a good thing,” she said. “But they still do it.”

A photo captures DeClerck inside her Chevy Cavalier during happier days. It’s quite a contrast from the same car on Tuesday afternoon.

Police say that while texting, DeClerck crossed lanes on Interstate 74, went into a ditch, became airborne over the Spruce Hills ramp, struck two trees and became pinned inside.

Read that story – click here.

“For there to be no other vehicles struck and  nobody else injured, it’s quite remarkable,” said Sgt. Rich Streepy, Bettendorf Police.

While DeClerck says that she was texting, wearing a seatbelt probably saved her life.

Firefighters had to rip the roof off the car to rescue the 2006 Sherrard High grad. It took just minutes to airlift her to the hospital.

“You don’t need to text,” Sgt. Streepy said. “You don’t need to type it. If you’re going to have a conversation, have a conversation with a hands-free device.”

It’s also against the law. DeClerck could get a $100 fine, but officers haven’t decided if they will issue it.

“It’s 100% avoidable,” Parsons said. “That’s why we call them crashes instead of accidents.”

The crushed car tells the story. Remnants of trees are still sticking out of it. Parsons captures the images with a telling conclusion.

“I want people to say, yes, this could happen to me,” she said. “Put away the phone.”

It’s a call for safety after this latest case of distracted driving.

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