An Ordinary Day That Changed a Family Forever
It was a day that started like any other day. School was out. Summer was just getting underway. Seventeen year-old Brian Garlock awoke early and went to his summer job cleaning rental properties with his friend in Pineville, North Carolina.
Just before noon on this ordinary Thursday, following behind his friend's car, Brian turned left - not realizing there was a truck driving toward him. The truck hit Brian’s car on the driver’s side door with an impact so great his car spun 180 degrees. He was then struck by another pick-up truck. Although he was rushed by ambulance to the nearest hospital and then flown by medical helicopter to the main trauma center in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina; Brian’s surgeon notified his family he did not survive.
Tammy’s Devastating Discovery
Nine days after an accident that changed Brian’s family forever, his parents had the unimaginable responsibility of dealing with what remained of Brian’s car. They had given it to him one week prior to the crash that claimed his life. As his mother, Tammy, was diligently searching to get everything from the car that had to do with her child, she spotted something wedged behind what used to be the driver’s-side area. Tammy was determined to retrieve the item. Crawling through twisted metal and over broken glass, what she found was Brian’s cell phone - still intact.
She took the phone home and plugged it in to charge. What she discovered after turning on the phone was a devastating truth. At the time Brian was making that left-hand turn behind his friend’s car, he was also attempting to call his girlfriend to let her know he was running late for their lunch. He never saw the truck barreling down on him. Brian Garlock was fatally distracted in that instant by his cell phone. His family will never be the same. The grief of losing him continues.
An Instant Message Reminder
Tammy Garlock is now on a mission to save others from experiencing the type of tragedy her family went through. She is a strong advocate for teen driver safety. She collaborates with safety partners, including State Farm. She also speaks at schools and driver’s education classes.
She hopes the pink and black “Remember Brian” bracelets created in her son’s memory will serve as an instant message of a different kind. Tammy encourages drivers to remember how quickly things can go wrong when reaching for, or using a phone, while driving.
“Make a better choice than my son did that day. The life you end up saving could very well be your own.”
You can learn more about Tammy’s efforts and make a pledge to stop using your phone while driving on her website, DyingChangesEverything.org.