BHS students learn dangers of texting while driving

Fletcher Cleaves speaks to Bartlett High School students.


In a second – your world can change – that was the message presented by 21-year-old Fletcher Cleaves Tuesday at Bartlett High School.
Cleaves, a Cordova High School graduate, spoke to Bartlett High School students about the dangers of texting while driving. He was the guest of AT&T regional director Chuck Thomas. The telecommunications company was on site at the high school with a car simulator that’s designed to highlight the dangers of texting while driving.
Cleaves was a victim in September of 2009 when a young woman, presumably texting at the time, crossed the center lane and ran him off the road.
“I was just told by my coach that I was going to start as the team’s kick returner,” the former Lambuth University student said. “My buddy and I were on our way home when it happened.”
“Imagine going from being a star athlete to not being able to walk, to eat, to hold a pencil,” he told an attentive audience. “And this doesn’t just affect me,” Cleaves continued. “My dad has to help me shower. My parents had to take a leave of absence to help me and they both lost their jobs. This affects everyone.”
Cleaves wrote AT&T and told his story. He is currently reaching out in hopes of raising funds to help him afford handicapped transportation. Tuesday several hundred Bartlett High School students saw something of themselves in a 21-year old peer who emphasized like no other message can, the dangers of texting while driving.