Pembroke teen dies while texting behind the wheel
Texting and driving can have serious consequences – and that's what a Pembroke family is learning after their son was killed in a head-on collision near Mattawa on Highway 17 over the weekend. A final text message was sent from his phone just seconds before the crash.
Eighteen-year-old Damon Souliere was on his way home to Pembroke in the Upper Ottawa Valley when his red Sunfire hit a tractor trailer head-on.
He had just sent a text message to a friend he saw the night before. The text said he had a good night. Other friends say they were also texting with him around the same time.
"I love my son so much. But he made a mistake. He made a mistake. Made a mistake texting," said Sid Souliere, Damon's father.
Damon's mother, Susanne, says incoming text messages were still coming through to his phone when emergency crews arrived at the scene Saturday afternoon.
Damon was an avid rugby player and was passionate about the military. His family worried when he signed up for full service -- fearing the worst.
"It scared me that he would end up coming back like one of those soldiers and be coming back . . . and he didn't get to experience it . . . He didn't get to experience it," his father told CTV Ottawa on Tuesday.
Ontario Provincial Police say 35 people were killed last year because of distracted driving; 1,000 people were injured. Police say distracted driving also caused more than 8,000 collisions on Ontario roads last year alone.
Now, Damon's family is spreading the message: Don't text and drive.
"He would be saying put it away. It's not worth it. He wouldn't be able to handle that. And he is going to spread that message," said Damon's mother.
His younger brother, Wesley, just got his drivers license.
"I will never do it (text and drive). And I don't want anyone else to. If anyone loves anyone, you shouldn't have to go through this. Never text and drive."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua