Man injured in accident wants cell phone law changed in Oklahoma

By: Teddy Safo Email
By: Teddy Safo Email

JOHNSTON COUNTY, Okla. -- Cell phones are a technology that has become part of our everyday lives. Most people consider them to be beneficial, even vital, but one local man says his life was changed forever by a driver on a cell phone.

John Ruback says he can no longer walk without pain because of an accident he was involved in six months ago. He says the cause of that accident was a driver on a cell phone, something he wants to see outlawed.

“‘I’m crippled’ Two words for life," Ruback says.

On June 19, John Ruback, his wife, and eight-year old granddaughter were traveling west on Highway 199 back to Mannsville when another vehicle turned into Ruback' s path, and the two cars collided.

Ruback says the accident that shattered his heel and left him in constant pain. He says the accident could have been avoided if the driver had just hung up his cell phone.

"This side of his face was facing me and I saw him. I’m 99.9 percent sure I saw him talking on the phone because right after we hit him he got right out, he had it in his hand pulling me out."

Six months later, Ruback's foot is still swollen. Doctors told him his foot will not get any better. Today he wears a brace and walks with a cane

"If you don’t have a cane, you fall over."

Currently there are no laws in Oklahoma barring the use of cell phones while driving, but one state representative is pushing for such legislation.

In July, State Representative Paul Wesselhoff said he wants to prohibit drivers from using cell phones on the road.

"That is a misdemeanor, which is 20 days in mandatory jail sentence and a $1,000 fine."

It’s a measure Ruback says he would support.

"You just don’t know how mad you get. Everything…you go to get out of bed, you gotta grab a stick to get out of bed and walk across the room and knowing that’s the way it’s going to be for the rest of your life."

Ruback says even putting a shoe on is difficult, and his doctors say he would possibly need metal plates inserted into his foot to help him walk.


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  • by DJ Location: Oklahoma on Jan 22, 2008 at 09:29 PM
    All I have to say is Mr. u are lucky to be alive. A local man in Ada was walking across the street and was hit and killed by someone who was on their cell phone and not to mention he was also speeding.This man was almost off the road when he was hit and thrown 50 feet in the air. If he hadn't been on his cell and payin attention to his driving, this man would still be alive. Altho ur in pain,just count ur blessing ur still around. This man isn't and the family are still in mourning over this death. It was a senseless act on the driver's part. I for one think driving is a privilege not a right. But laws have the right to take ur privileges away. As for the other comment about using an ear piece,not all lil devices are suitable while driving. Come on people use common sense while ur driving,everyone deserves to live. Their is always someone's Mother,Father,Sister,Brother,Uncle,Aunt, Grandmother,Grandfather,Niece,Nephew,Cousin...ect...ect on the roads everyday.
  • by Anonymous Location: Sherman on Dec 12, 2007 at 10:24 AM
    No, cell phones are the main problem you see people out about all the time driving and talking on them and the only thing that is on their mind is whoever is talking to them
  • by me Location: oklahoma on Dec 12, 2007 at 08:00 AM
    hey all I am saying is accidents happen before cell phones were an issue, people don't pay attention or have you ever come up to a stop sign, stopped looked both ways and start to pull out and all of a sudden a car going by and you oh my were did that come from, well accidents happen, I didn't say there souldn't be a law about talking on the phone and driving but I do say accidents even happen when a phone is not involved, the main reason is not paying attention and sometimes it is not because of phones, or makeup, or newspapers (and yes I have seen people reading and driving) but just day dreaming, and to me people day dreaming is more dangerous than anything else, they have their minds on whats for supper, or the ballgame that night or the one they just watched, or what the boss had to say that day. So cell phones are just a small problem, I say when you get behind the wheel be ready to drive.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 11, 2007 at 04:48 PM
    Anonymous, you need to get a grip and stop acting like you know it all, so your in pain, was your injury from some idoit being on his cell phone and was not paying attention to the road and hit you, yea there are alot of people that should pay for people that go through pain, stop acting like you are the only on this earth, and good for you that you go to work everyday, this person that got hurt in this accident how do you know that he doesn't have a job
  • by Anonymous on Dec 11, 2007 at 02:10 PM
    I HAVE HAD 9 SURGERIES AND HAVE 10% USE OF MY HAND, ARM, AND SHOULDER. i AM IN PAIN ALL THE TIME. I WILL TELL YOU THIS, I GO TO WORK EVERY DAY IN PAIN AND WORK A 8-10 HOUR SHIFT A DAY, MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY. ALL I CAN SAY IS GET UP OFF YOUR BUTT WUSS AND QUIT MAKING A LAW SUIT OUT OF THIS. I AGREE THE LAW NEEDS TO BE CHANGED ON CELL PHONES. EVERYONES OWN LIFE, WE HAVE TO LIVE WITH PAIN, SO WHAT MAKES AND DIFFERENT FROM US. JUST GET UP OFF YOUR BUTT AND QUIT BEING A CRUTCH TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 11, 2007 at 10:23 AM
    me oklahoma, If he had not been talking on the phone he would have been paying attention, you are problme one of these people that do sit in the passing lane and talk on your phone
  • by me Location: oklahoma on Dec 11, 2007 at 08:00 AM
    I think these peopel are just bad drivers have always been bad drivers and will always be bad drivers, you can blame the phone if you want but even without phones people pull out in front of other people and the only reason people think it is the phone is because EVERYONE and their dogs have phones these days. That guy could have probably would have pulled out in front of the other guy rather he was talking on the phone or not. He was just not paying attention.
  • by anonymous Location: johnston county, OK on Dec 11, 2007 at 04:26 AM
    I agree with the need for a law. But until then, all the cell talking/driving folks that cause accidents should be charged with some sort of lack of attention or failure to devote time and attention. There are laws that would certainly be appropriate in these situations. And amen to the passing lane chatter boxes, who don't drive over 55 most of the time.
  • by kelly Location: okla on Dec 10, 2007 at 08:21 PM
    i gotta agree with mr.ruback..just about everyone you see now days that pull out in front of ya or cut ya off,or are just driving lousy has a cell phone glued to their ear,instead of watching their driving....
  • by Anonymous Location: Sherman on Dec 10, 2007 at 07:03 PM
    They need to pass a law in Oklahoma and Grayson County, you cannot be on a phone while driving, I was out this past weekend and a man was coming out of Wal-Mart and he was on his phone and pulled out in front of this other car and if he had not swirlved he would have hit him, and if he had not been on his phone and paying attention, pass a LAW NOW and that you can only use blue tooth or ear piece for driving and if you get caught driving and talking on your phone you pay a fine, you people that sit in the passing lane and talk on your phone you would be the first to pay the fine
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