WOLCOTT — It’s been one year since a motorcyclist was killed in Wolcott because of a driver who was texting and driving.
On Saturday, friends and loved ones of Terry Doyle gathered to remember his life as they look for justice for what happened on June 25, 2013, when Doyle was struck and killed by a distracted driver.
A balloon release and memorial barbecue was held in his honor Saturday at Johnny B’s in Wolcott.
“I still can’t believe it’s been a year. It will always be fresh in my mind,” said Brenda Doyle, Terry Doyle’s widow.
Terry Doyle was driving his motorcycle on Meriden Road when police said a distracted driver, Stephanie Clavell, 25, of Waterbury slammed into the back of his bike while he was stopped in traffic.
Police say Clavell was using her cellphone instead of watching the road, and she was later charged with second degree manslaughter.
Doyle died in the hospital three days later.
“People still do it every day. I see it every day. My husband hated texting and driving. He didn’t know how to it. He didn’t like to do it. He hated people who did it,” said Brenda Doyle.
Clavell is free while she awaits a trial date that has not been set.
Brenda Doyle says the legal process is taking longer than she expected and wants Clavell to spend time behind bars.
“I don’t ask for a lot, just so people realize this is a serious situation and you have to pay for her consequences,” Doyle said.
Those who knew Terry Doyle say that his death has made them more aware of the dangers of texting and driving.
“Prior to the accident a lot of us did it, thought about doing it, and afterwards it really hit home and how many times this could have happened,” said Jennifer Grey, a close friend of the Doyles.
Violating Connecticut’s distracted driving law, which underwent changes last year, can be costly. Drivers can expect a $150 fine for their first offense, $300 for a second, and $500 for a third or any subsequent offenses.
In July, the state will embark on a week-long enforcement campaign to crack down on distracted drivers.
Brenda Doyle hopes even more can be done.
“I think there should be stiffer penalties. There’s no jail time. It’s almost like a slap on the hand,” she said.
In 2012, there were 3,328 people killed and 421,000 injured nationwide in distraction-affected crashes.