Changing Lives: Cortland man speaks about safe driving and son's - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Changing Lives: Cortland man speaks about safe driving and son's death

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WARREN, Ohio -

"One of the things Timothy liked to do was drive fast and that's one of the things we talked to him about when he did get his drivers license," said Bill Hess, remembering his son's eagerness to get behind the wheel.

Pushing the pedal to the metal was a constant discussion in the Hess household as their teen son Timothy learned how to drive.

But in 2011 after year of groundings, and discussions about driving safely, Bill Hess woke up to every parent's nightmare when a state highway patrol trooper knocked on his front door in the middle of the night.

"He said I'm sorry to tell you that your son Timothy was in a car accident and he didn't make it. It is the most horrible thing a parent could ever hear," said Hess.

His son, 19-year-old Timothy Hess had been drinking at a party the night before, and crashed into a tree on his drive home.

"He made the wrong choice, he decided to drink," said Hess, "His car missed the curve and actually went airborne hit the tree and pretty much cut it in half."

Timothy had just wrapped up his first year at YSU, where he was studying to be a teacher.
And while the story of his death is a tough tale for his father to tell the Ohio State Highway Patrol is honoring Hess for doing just that time and time again.

"It's important to note that he's been compensated for nothing to do this, he does it all on his own," said Lt. Brian Holt while presenting Hess with the Ohio State Highway Patrol's certificate of recognition.

"Oh there's compensation other than money," responded Hess,"I can see the looks and the feelings when I do the presentation."

For the past five years, Hess has spoken to more than 1000 teens and parents in the Carteens/Drive to survive program which teaches about the dangers of impaired and distracted driving.

"His message is very powerful. It's personal. You can see in the eyes of the audience you can see in the critiques. His message has made an impact," said OSP Warren Post Commander Lt. Brian Holt.

So far for 2016 there have been seven deadly crashes in Trumbull County. Hess says he hopes sharing his story will help prevent any more.

"Really if they're driving safely and can avoid this happening it's good for me," said Hess.

And whether it's a a speeding ticket or a traffic violation, Hess says every reminder, every ticket brings an important lesson. It's never just a drive, it's your life.

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