Cell phone use may have led to fatal Gandy crash - FOX 13 News

Cell phone use may have led to fatal Gandy crash

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Florida Highway Patrol says the accident happened very quickly when 29-year-old Manuel Belissario Bonet Jr was driving along Gandy Boulevard. Troopers say his Honda veered into the median, and Bonet tried to overcorrect, pulling the car to the right.

Troopers say the car went out of control, hitting a wooden power pole and then a clump of trees.

Bonet was thrown from the car and died.

FHP recovered a cell phone. One part of the investigation will determine if Bonet had been distracted while driving.

Florida is still one of only five states that has no restrictions on cell phone use while driving.

On Wednesday, Linda Silva stood on the steps of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee and talked about her son.

"He was just 45 seconds away from us," she explained. "That changed our lives forever, and it doesn't just affect the mother or the father or the sister. It affects family. It affects friends. It affects society at large. We lose too many of these kids and we need to have parents talking to their children about how serious driving is."

Her son Alex was just 19 when in 2009, he had been drinking at a friend's house. He called home, and Linda says he was about 2 minutes away, checking in. She thought he'd be home soon.

But instead, after he hung up, he dropped his cell phone and swerved when he tried to pick it up.

"Children are such a gift to us, and for those of you who have them, treasure them because they can be here today and gone tomorrow," Linda said.

Silva was helping to kick off the "Be Ready for the Road Ahead" campaign. The aim is to increase safe driving practices for drivers ages15 to 20.

"They need to be putting their seat belts on. They need to be putting their cell phones down and parents need to be the example," Silva said.

The Florida Association of DUI programs will put up billboards throughout the state, raising awareness of driving hazards.

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