Mother reflects on death of OHP trooper son 3 years after tragic texting and driving accident

DURANT, Okla. (KXII) -- Three years after losing her son in a tragic texting while driving accident, a Durant mother continues to share his story.

Shelley Russell's life changed forever on the night of Jan. 31, 2015, when two Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers knocked on her door with the news that her son had been killed by a distracted driver.

"On his 189th text, he killed my son," Russell said.

Son Trooper Nicholas Dees had been working an accident when the distracted driver hit him. Lt. Scott Hampton with OHP delivered the tragic news to Russell.

"Theres no way to prepare for it," Hampton said. "It's one of our own, one of our guys. We never wanna lose anyone."

Russell used the tragedy to spread awareness about texting and driving. DistractingDrivingAccidents.Com estimates 64 percent of accidents involve cell phones, and you're six times more likely to crash while texting than drunk driving.

Russell started a run in Dees' honor and gives distracted driving presentations for free to local schools and churches.

"I wanted to keep his name alive," Russell said.

Oklahoma banned texting and driving after his death. Hampton said despite the $100 fine, people are still constantly on their phones.

"For something to happen due to negligence, it hits a different part of you," Hampton said.

This Saturday is the third Nicholas Dees Celebration of Life Run to raise scholarship money and awareness.

"I have troopers there in full uniform, and they put the medals around the runners' neck," Russell said. "It's just an honor to run this."

Due to dwindling signups, Russell is worried this will be the last.

People can sign up until Wednesday, or before the race on Saturday.

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