There have been three recent fall-asleep crashes that led to the deaths of Marylanders. Now their families are left to pick up the pieces of those shattered lives, each finding different ways to spread the message against drowsy driving.
As she and her boys drove on the Ohio Turnpike, when a tractor trailer fell asleep, slammed into their car and pushed them into another truck.
Susan, a mathematics professor at Stevenson University, died in the crash. Matthew suffered a traumatic brain injury. Peter received major pelvic and facial fractures. Both survived, but continue to undergo medical treatment.
John Short, a truck driver from Willards, was crossing the Bay Bridge early one morning in August 2008. As he neared the end of the span, a Camaro driven by then 19-year-old Candy Lynn Baldwin veered into oncoming traffic. She had fallen asleep at the wheel.
John swerved to avoid the the crash, but slammed through the guardrail and plunged into the water below. He died from multiple injuries and drowning.
Baldwin survived the accident with only minor injuries and never faced serious charges stemming from the crash. Short's family sued Baldwin and attorneys for both sides eventually reached a settlement agreement.
A final report on the crash from the NTSB is due out before the end of the year.
The crash has also been studied at Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine to show the effects of sleep deprivation on safety and judgement.
Nicole Michelle Lee was a 2007 graduate from Magruder High School in Derwood, Md. She was in her freshman year at Virginia Tech, majoring in engineering, when she and a group of friends went on a skiing trip to Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia.
They were on their way back to school in January 2008 when the driver of the car fell asleep and hit a tree going 55 mph. Nicole was in the front seat of the car when it went off the road.
Nicole would later die at the hospital.
Her mom says the driver had a quick hearing and pleaded no contest. She says all he received is a $25 fine.
Nicole's mother now says it's her passion to spread the word about the dangers of Drowsy Driving because it's one that could have been prevented if young drivers were as educated about it as they are about driving under the influence.
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