KFC by the Tombstone – A Warning about Texting and Driving




Today, on Father’s Day, my children and I are taking a bucket of chicken to the cemetery. For those of you who are new around here, my husband was killed in a car accident last year on May 31st. He was 25 years old. We have two children and at the time of his death, they were ages 4 and 2. Before you think I’m some morbid mother, the graveside picnic was my children’s idea. They’ve been talking about it for close to a month and I’ve put it off until Father’s Day, which seems as appropriate as it can be.

I thought about writing this blog on the anniversary of his death, but writing about the accident would’ve defeated my purpose of ignoring the anniversary. So I decided to save it for today. I have no idea why this had to happen to us, but I believe my words will reach out to someone who needs to read them.

May 31st, 2008, I was forced to do what no mother should ever have to do. I had to meet my children at their bedside and tell them that they wouldn’t see Daddy again. That entire day is a blur now, but I’m sure my explanation to them was something like, “Daddy was driving home this morning and he ran the van into some trees. He was hurt really bad and he died. Do you know what it means when someone dies? It means that Daddy isn’t going to be able to come home again. He went to heaven to live with Jesus and we won’t see him anymore.”

While I don’t remember exactly what I said to my children, I will never forget the look on their tiny faces. Mortality was realized and their delicate innocence was shattered. Their father, teacher, coach, biggest fan and superman was gone forever.

The accident that took my husband’s life was caused by texting and driving. He was on the road right by our house, on his way home from work, when he answered a quick text message from a friend. He knew the road well. He wasn’t even speeding. Still, they found his lifeless body in the cargo section of the minivan–a minivan that has the 2nd highest safety rating on the market–a minivan that now looks like this:

I love my cell phone, but I can no longer check my phone or return a text behind the wheel of a car with a clear conscience. In Tennessee texting and driving is now illegal and more states seem to be heading in the same direction.

Don’t text and drive.

Don’t drink and drive.

And ALWAYS buckle up.

Don’t be the reason that anyone else has a KFC picnic at the cemetery on Father’s Day. Please remember these faces the next time your cell phone goes off in transit.

Robert William Huttinger III
July 10th, 1982 – May 31st 2008


If some lessons in life are learned the hard way, then this particular lesson is painfully too important to miss.


10 Responses to “KFC by the Tombstone – A Warning about Texting and Driving”

  1. 1 Brent Woodward


    I got this link from Ashley. What an amazing message. What a terrible tragedy. What a poignant story.

    I spend a great deal of time on the road as part of my job. I cannot tell you the amount of people I pass on the road who are texting while driving – and not even LOOKING at the road. NOT. EVEN. LOOKING. I must admit, I am also guilty of texting while driving. And though I feel I look at the road more than looking at the phone, I know that it is not safe. And I know I shouldn’t do it. I promise you I’ll try to be more responsible.

    I hope that because you shared this story, someone else will also think twice about texting and driving.

    I am so sorry for your loss…. for your children’s loss… Your story is a sobering one. Thank you for sharing.

  2. 2 eL.

    I hope so too. If our story can save someone else from similar pain, then it makes it easier to live with. 🙂 Thank you for reading.

  3. 3 Bruce

    Thanks. We all need a reality check once in awhile. I am sorry for your loss.

  4. 5 Alan

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and for your children’s loss. I guess I’ve also been guilty of texting and driving, but don’t do it very often. This was a sobering wakeup call. My Dad died a little over 4 years ago, and 24 days later, my wife of 28 years also died. I think I can understand a little of the agony of these holidays for you… But, life has a unique way of going on, and even before Heaven, there’s life after death. God is good, and while there’s always pain in remembering, the memories become somehow more sweet as time passes. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

    • 6 eL.

      Thank you for the encouraging words. The memories are sloooowly getting sweeter. My husband was a man that it was hard to have bad memories of. 🙂 I’m sorry for the loss of your father and wife. Even with strangers… we’re all related. 🙂

  5. 7 Jenna

    Useful info, nice blog, thanks.

  6. I’m in tears, Elicia. What a terrible, painful loss. Thank you for sharing this important message.

  7. Sorry for your and the children’s loss. I hear of too many people that lost their life while texting and driving, especially 16 year old children. Even driving intoxicated is dangerous, but either way, it is a possible DUI/DWI in both cases. Please people, be careful behind the wheel. You never know when time will end!

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