Eighteen-year-old Jonathan Weaver was killed in a head-on collision by a driver who, according to the Texas Highway Patrol accident report, may have been distracted by pornography playing on his phone. Paramedics responding to the crash that killed three found an x-rated movie still playing when then was recovered at the site of the collision near Big Spring, Texas last April.
Now, his parents hope a lawsuit against Energy Transfer Partners, the company that owned the suspected distracted driver's truck will send a message about the lack of oversight businesses and states extend over drivers using their cellphones.
Audio over a police body camera could be heard, "He had a cellphone in his hand and there was porn on it."
The 18-year-old's truck was compressed by almost six feet from the collision.
"I am not an angry person by nature, and as time goes on I'm definitely dealing with anger over that, because to me it's so senseless – watching porn, cellphone use," Jonathan's mother Delena Weaver told CBS News' Kris Van Cleave. "He killed my son."
Chip Brooker, who is representing the Weaver family in their lawsuit, called the incident "one of the most extreme, egregious cases of distracted driving."
"Energy Transfer is a billion dollar company that has the resources to monitor and detect this sort of conduct with their drivers," he claimed.
The CDC estimates that nine people a day die in the U.S. due to distracted driving crashes, a leading culprit of which is cellphone use. An October survey found 48% of drivers admitted to reading a text, while one in four said they update social media, take pictures or videos while driving.
All but two U.S. states have banned texting and driving, including Washington D.C., but only 21 states and D.C. prohibit drivers from holding their cellphones.
Dr. Charles Wilmer, whose colleague died in a distracted driving incident, helped pass Georgia's handheld phone ban in 2018 – after which driving deaths in the state dropped for the first time in a decade.
"We had a steadily increasing mortality rate, distracted driving problem, and it looked like it was un-correctable," Wilmer explained. "When we passed this law we had a 2.25% reduction in fatalities the first year."
He said that in 2019, the mortality rate was reduced by 4%.
Jonathan's parents Patrick and Delena Weaver hope their lawsuit against Energy Transfer Partners will inspire a similar wake up call.
"Please put your phones down," Delena Weaver pleaded. "Your life and other people's lives are valuable. Put the phones away. It can wait."
Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline company that owned the pickup truck James Darling was driving when he crashed, told CBS News in a statement: "Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this tragic accident, however, accident reconstruction analysis suggest that our employee was not at fault. Beyond that, we decline to further discuss specific personnel or pending litigation."