GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – The summer driving months, otherwise known as the 100 deadliest days are right around the corner. It’s a time when young driver car accidents and deaths historically spike.
Karah Bosmeijer is a loved wife and mom to two young boys under the age of two. But her life now almost didn’t happen. In 2008, Bosmeijer was preparing to graduate high school. She was 17 at the time and was a soon-to-be cheerleader at Garden City Community College.
On her way home to Deerfield after cheer practice, she checked her phone to see if she had gotten a text back from her friend. In a matter of seconds, her life changed forever.
“All it took was me looking down at my phone, seeing a simple response, and looking up and seeing a semi that was stopped in front of me,” said Karah Bosmeijer, a distracted driving survivor.
Bosmeijer attempted to stop her car and swerve into the ditch, but her car slammed into the back of the semi, her car stuck partially underneath. When she came to, she realized the semi was still rolling to a stop. She honked her horn to get the driver’s attention before he turned into oncoming traffic.
The driver stopped, got out to help Bosmeijer, and both lanes of traffic came to a halt. “I just remember sitting on the highway and one of my friends stopped so I gave them my phone. So I gave him my phone and told him to get ahold of my family because I hadn’t been able to get ahold of anyone,” she said.
Bosmeijer survived and was taken to the hospital.
“It was crazy how fast everything happened,” she said. “This might have looked like a big accident to some people, but I just brushed it off at first. I realized it was more serious when I went to the bathroom to clean off the blood on my head and I could see a touch of white.”
The touch of white was Bosmeijer’s skull. She was given 23 stitches. Nineteen of which in her forehead to close the gap where her skull was showing.
A short time after her wreck, Bosmeijer was leaving her home to spend time with friends. She says her mom starting to tear up. “She was like, ‘Where are you going? Who are you going with?’ I rolled my eyes and told her it’s not that big of a deal. She started crying and she said today would’ve been my funeral,” Bosmeijer said.
Looking back, Bosmeijer says the crash makes her realize how precious life truly is. “It brings me to tears thinking what I could’ve actually caused but at the time I was just so invincible. I was never going to die or hurt anyone,” she said.
She says the accident was an eye-opener for her and she hopes it’s an eye-opener for others. Finding inspiration to prevent crashes similar to Bosmeijer’s, a local class is offering students a chance to get educated on the dangers of distracted driving.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), car accidents are the leading cause of death for people ages 16 to 24, and every year more than 320,000 young drivers are seriously injured.
Anthony Cruz with Business Solutions Academy in Garden City is teaching students the Alive at 25 course. The class is offered through the NSC and walks students through the risks of texting, impairment, speeding, among other distractions.
“It’s a vulnerable group because they have that illusion of control and they think it’s not going to happen to them,” said Cruz, Alive at 25 instructor.
The class is the only course in Kansas to be offered west of Kansas City. The NSC found that young drivers are more than twice as likely to be killed in a car crash. Cruz says he wants to change that.
The course accessible to all young drivers and is free of charge. So far, the class is making a regional impact, educating students across southwest Kansas.
Cruz says it’s a way to keep all of the community safer. “We hope we can curb these accidents that are happening and losing students and that’s our goal,” he said.