This is where error messages should go.

This was no accident

Widow, mother is turning tragedy into propose to end distracted driving
By Adrienne Siddens

On May 5, 2019, Randall left the house early to go to work and he never made it home. Randall was a husband, stay-at-home dad, runner, builder, and friend to all. When he kissed me, said goodbye, and walked out of the house that morning, he was in the prime of his life. At 33 years old, he had a beautiful two-year-old daughter who adored him and a spunky almost one-year-old son who had barely had a chance to do the fun father/son activities that every dad looks forward to. Randall and I were excitedly preparing to find out the gender of our third and final baby, renovating our home, and accomplishing the goals we had been dreaming of during our nine years of marriage.

Randall worked that morning at the Tri-Zou triathlon event in Columbia, Missouri. He had set up the racecourse, worked on the race staff throughout the event, and was picking up cones after it was finished. He worked for the race company, UltraMax, for a few years and their team always worked with care to make their racecourses safe for both the runners and the staff. They were professionals in their field. But no amount of safety precautions can protect you from the reckless choices of others.

In an intersection marked with race cones, an unlicensed, uninsured driver was going 10 miles per hour over the speed limit while on a video call, before she looked up to see the police escort that was blocking traffic behind Randall and his team. To avoid crashing into the police car, she swerved around it, never even noticing the cones or the workers who were in front of it.

When she hit Randall, throwing him 100 feet through the air, he broke his pelvis and ribs, and suffered a severe trauma to his head. Randall spent the next seven months in multiple hospitals, ICU’s, and rehab facilities and passed away on November 18, just two weeks after his 34th birthday. He missed his son’s first birthday, the birth of his third daughter, and countless other events he had been looking forward to.

The news articles all call it a tragic accident, but this was no accident. Accidents happen regardless of careful planning and attention. The unnecessary and senseless wreck that took his life was the direct result of choice. The woman who hit him chose to break multiple laws that day. She chose to get behind the wheel of a car despite knowing it was not lawful to do so. She chose to be reckless in her haste to get where she was going. She chose to prioritize her phone conversation over the safety of herself and others.

Those choices were intentional and not by accident, making Randall’s death a choice someone made as well. The choices made behind the wheel of a car may seem insignificant at the time, but every moment and every choice have the potential to change lives forever. Randall, our children, myself and even the driver who will spend her next five years in prison, all suffered life altering consequences that day because of distracted and irresponsible driving.