VACAVILLE — A Fairfield father told Vacaville High School students about a 20-year-old college student who had everything going for her until a text message and the fatal accident on Highway 101 that followed.
The young woman’s name was Kimi Augusto. The man talking to Vacaville High students was her father, Bobby Augusto.
“I was a wreck,” he said of his daughter’s death May 31, 2011. “At times I still am.”
“Everything in you just wants to quit. To stop,” Augusto said.
But the senior manager for AT&T said students can learn from what happened to Kimi Augusto.
“I want you to live full lives,” he told them. “I don’t want to read about you in the paper as I did with my daughter.”
She was driving home when a friend she’d visited – taking him a favorite Slurpee from 7-Eleven after he hadn’t been admitted to a fire academy as hoped – sent a text message to thank her.
“This girl knows the dangers of texting and driving,” Bobby Augusto said of his daughter. “It’s dangerous. You can die.”
Kimi Augusto would have waited 999 times out a 1,000 until she wasn’t driving to read the message, her father said. But she looked at the text long enough to lose control of her vehicle and take out all of its lights. She was OK but shaken and called her mom. Somebody’s coming to help me, Kimi said. She could see headlights. Kimi thought she was on the highway shoulder. She was in the first lane.
The oncoming car killed her instantly.
“Is there anything on a phone screen that’s worth your lives?” Bobby Augusto asked students.
Student Wesley Woodside, 17, said hearing the story of Kimi Augusto showed the reality of what can happen with texting and driving. Student Jassani Pickens, 17, said the price can be your life.
State Assemblyman Jim Frazier, whose 20-year-old daughter Stephanie died in a Dec. 16, 2000, accident on Highway 50 due to black ice, asked students to pledge to not drive and text.
“I lost my little girl,” Frazier said. “As parents we’re not supposed to bury our children.”
Dr. Jon Perlstein, a trauma surgeon at the Sutter Roseville Medical Center who helps coach football at Vacaville High, told the students that the worst part of his work is telling parents about motor vehicle accidents that have taken the lives of their children.
“I know you think you’re invincible,” Perlstein said. “When I was 17, I thought I was invincible.”
“You have great things to do in your lives,” the surgeon said. “I don’t want you to end up on my table.”
The program Tuesday is part of the “It Can Wait” campaign by AT&T to promote no texting while driving.
David McCallum, president of the board of trustees for the Vacaville School District, praised the event that included students using simulators that show the dangers of texting while driving.
“There’s nothing like this kind of thing to bring it home,” he said.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.