An Ohio police officer’s heart-felt message to a teen he pulled over going 100 mph on a highway is going viral.
After the officer from the North Ridgeville Police Department clocked the 18-year-old teen speeding he wrote the teen a ticket for their reckless driving. “I’d like to believe that you were minutes away from creating an unspeakable Christmas tragedy when I stopped you,” he later wrote in his open letter on Facebook.
The officer went on to explain that although the teen may believe he is “invincible”, the officer has seen too many “broken” bodies of other teenagers because of car crashes related to speeding to know the truth.
“They thought they were invincible too. They weren’t,” the officer posted. “They were gone so they missed the part where I had to tell their parents that they were dead. Part of your soul disappears every time you have to tell parents that their kid is dead.”
Reckless driving among teens is not a problem isolated to Ohio. No matter where you are in North America, teens are at the highest risk of car accidents.
“The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash,” the CDC has said.
No wonder the officer’s message is resonating with so many. A day after it was posted to Facebook, the letter has been shared more than 74,000 times.
Here’s what the officer wrote:
“To the 18 year old kid I stopped on SR 10,
You’re welcome. I’d like to believe that you were minutes away from creating an unspeakable Christmas tragedy when I stopped you. If not only killing yourself, you were well on your way to killing some innocent person who was minding their own business doing nothing else wrong but being in front of you.
You said you didn’t realize how fast you were going. That’s a lie. You may not realize when you’re doing 45 in a 35 but you are fully aware of every mile per hour at 100. You realize it with every bump you hit. You realize it as you pass cars so fast the wind moves your car. You realize it every time you drift over the line and when you move the wheel the car reacts a lot quicker than you’re used to. You absolutely realized it.
You were scared when I stopped you. You were visibly shaking and breathing hard. Unfortunately, you were scared one minute too late and for the wrong reason. You should have been scared that you were trying to kill yourself. I know you’re invincible. I know that you can’t even fathom your own death.
I can tell you dozens of stories of dead and broken 18 year old bodies that I’ve pulled from cars. Broken bodies that I’ve found in front yards after crashes. Unrecognizable bodies. They thought they were invincible too. They weren’t. They were gone so they missed the part where I had to tell their parents that they were dead. Part of your soul disappears every time you have to tell parents that their kid is dead.
I don’t KNOW your parents, but I know them. I know that when you leave every day they say “Be careful. Drive safe.” Those aren’t just words. That is the very last act of them pleading with you to come home safe. When they get a knock on the door, it’s not “Good afternoon ma’am. Your 18 year old son just had a massive heart attack. It’s “Can we sit down? Your son has been involved in a very serious crash. I’m so sorry. He’s died.” When you leave the house they know that, far and away, the best chance you have of dying that day is in that car. Sometimes you’re the innocent person hit by someone with no regard for anyone else and sometimes you’re the one with no regard for anyone else. Today you were the latter.
You seemed like a really nice kid who made a bad decision. I don’t feel bad about this ticket at all. In fact, I’m proud of it. I hope you’re paying it off for months and with every payment you think about how it wasn’t worth it. I hope you slow down. I hope that when your mom tells you to “drive safe” you make a promise to her, and yourself, that you will. I hope you can envision me sitting in your kitchen telling your screaming mother that you have been killed.
Slow down. Please. You are not invincible. I promise.”
Many people have since commented how much they appreciate the message, One parent wrote, “Thank you. As a parent with two teenage children, I promise that we will read this out loud at the dinner table. There may be eyes rolling, and feigned disinterest, but your words will be heard. Again, thank you for taking the time to care.”
Another wrote, “I hope everyone takes the message to heart.”