After wife is injured by distracted driver, Minnesota sheriff urges motorists to 'put the phone down'

The lawman's wife was waiting to turn left when she was hit on Hwy. 14.
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The Ford Edge the sheriff's wife was driving. 

The Ford Edge the sheriff's wife was driving. 

A Minnesota sheriff's post on his Facebook page has been shared more than 4,000 times as he revealed damage to his wife's car caused by a distracted driver. 

Fortunately, Steele County Sheriff Lon Thiele's wife survived after being hit from behind by a distracted driver on Hwy. 14 on Monday, Feb. 24. The rear of the vehicle she was in was completely crushed, with Thiele saying the crash happened when she was waiting to turn into a driveway after a day of work in Rochester. 

"When I answered the phone you could tell there was something wrong by the trembling of her voice," Sheriff Thiele wrote. "Unfortunately, Highway 14 is a road full of statistics. My wife, almost became another one."

The sheriff said the driver that caused the crash "wasn't paying attention" and instead "reading a text."

"She was transported back to Rochester with several injuries. She is home now and in a lot of pain caused by some person that couldn't wait to read a text," he continued. 

"If my girls would have been in the back seat they wouldn't be with us today."

Thiele, elected sheriff of Steele County in 2010, concluded his message urging drivers to obey the hands-free law. 

"While on the road, put the phone down. Hands Free saves lives."

According to the Star Tribune, between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31 last year, more than 9,700 hands-free citations were issued to drivers in Minnesota. More than 4,200 of those were for dialing a number, talking or listening while holding or phone or being involved in a video call. 

Another 3,000 tickets were issued for texting, and nearly 2,200 were for watching videos, playing games or using apps. 

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