Archive | April, 2018

April is “Distracted Driving Awareness Month”- But It’s a Year-Round Issue!

Posted on 13 April 2018 by Monica Zech

What Is Distracted Driving? Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.

Consequences – Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,166 lives in 2017 alone.  391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.

Click on the link below to learn more.

*Note: “I’ve been impacted three times drivers on their cell phones – so I personally know the dangers!”

Monica Zech

Safe Driving Speaker


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TRAFFIC Information

Posted on 12 April 2018 by Monica Zech

 Getting around as safely as possible – the following links can help!

TRAFFIC Information & more:


Freeway Project Information:  Click here –


Disaster Preparedness and additional resources…

Stay safe!


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Depression, Suicidal Thoughts? Light for Life Foundation Can Help You

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Monica Zech

Light for Life Foundation Please call the San Diego 24 hour Crisis Hotline at 1(888) 724-7240, or the National Hotline at 1(800) 273-8255 – If you are in need and don’t know how to ask for help please call these hotlines. Life is precious – we care.


Crisis Hotline – Call (888) 724-7240 for immediate help
If you or someone you care about is experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis, please call the Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. Trained and experienced counselors are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day to provide support, referrals, and crisis intervention. You can also call the Access and Crisis Line if you are concerned about someone, just need to talk, have questions about how to offer support, or if you are looking for information about community resources, mental health referrals, and alcohol and drug support services. If emergency medical care is needed, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.


You can text for help:

Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis, connecting people in crisis to trained Crisis Counselors. Our first priority is helping people move from a hot moment to a cool calm, guiding you to create a plan to stay safe and healthy. YOU = our priority.

Text CONNECT to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.

Are you, or do you know someone who is feeling depressed, with thoughts of taking their own life?

Please read on for help:

*If you are in need and don’t know how to ask for help please call these hotlines. Life is very precious -I care and they care – make the call for help. Sometimes life seems over-whelming-please make the call…


San Diego Teen Zeen (Comprehensive Local Youth Support)


Compassionate Friends
(Our Children Loved, Missed, and Remembered)



So that you’re aware of this important issue – please read the following and – Take Action!

How You Can Help a Suicidal Teenager or adult!

  • DEAL WITH YOUR OWN FEELINGS FIRST. The idea of young people wanting to kill themselves is difficult for adults to grasp. The first reaction is often shock or denial. TRUST YOUR FEELINGS WHEN YOU THINK SOMEONE MAY BE SUICIDAL. A second reaction might be efforts to argue, minimize, to discount the young person’s feelings of despair. Remember that most young people who contemplate or attempt suicide are not intent on dying. Rather, at the moment, the pain of living is more unbearable than the fear of dying.
  • LISTEN DON’T LECTURE. What the young person really needs in this crisis period is someone who will listen to what is being said. Try to understand from the teenager’s viewpoint.
  • ACCEPT WHAT IS SAID AND TREAT IT SERIOUSLY. Do not judge. Do not offer platitudes.
  • ASK DIRECTLY IF THE INDIVIDUAL IS THINKING OF SUICIDE. If the teenager has not been thinking of suicide, he or she will tell you. If the young person has been thinking of it, your asking allows the opportunity to bring it out in the open. Isolation and the feeling that there is no one to talk to compounds suicidal ideation. YOU WILL NOT CAUSE SOMEONE TO COMMIT SUICIDE BY ASKING THEM IF THEY ARE SUICIDAL.
  • TRY TO FOCUS THE PROBLEM. Point out that depression causes people to see only the negatives in their lives and to be temporarily unable to see the positives. Elicit from the person’s past and present positive aspects which are being ignored.
  • HELP THE YOUNG PERSON TO INCREASE HIS/HER PERCEPTION OF ALTERNATIVES TO SUICIDE. Look at what the young person hopes to accomplish by suicide and generate alternative ways to reaching the same goals. Help determine what needs to be done or changed.
  • HELP THE PERSON RECALL HOW THEY USED TO COPE. Get the person to talk about a past problem and how it was resolved. What coping skills did he or she use?
  • EVALUATE THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE AND HELP IDENTIFY THE RESOURCES NEEDED TO IMPROVE THINGS. The individual may have both inner psychological resources and outer resources in the community which can be strengthened. If they are absent the problem is much more serious. Your continuing observation and support are vital.
  • DO NOT BE MISLED BY THE TEENAGER’S COMMENTS THAT HE/SHE IS PAST THE EMOTIONAL CRISIS. The person might feel initial relief after talking of suicide, but the same thinking could recur later.
  • ACT RESPECTFULLY. Do arrange with the person to be back in contact within a few hours. Offer yourself as a caring and concerned listener until professional assistance has been obtained.
  • DO NOT AVOID ASKING FOR ASSISTANCE AND CONSULTATION. Call upon whomever is needed, depending upon the severity of the case.
  • DO NOT TRY TO HANDLE EVERYTHING ALONE. Go to the child’s guidance counselor, principal, parents, minister, etc. Seek out referrals from hotlines, etc. Convey an attitude of firmness and composure so that the person will feel that something appropriate and realistic is being done.

Identifying Youth at Risk for Suicide

The “equation” for more successfully identifying youth at suicidal risk is to recognize items from both sides of this list. Warning signs alone are not enough to give adequate indicators. Including the risk factors give a more complete profile. Remember, however, ALL YOUTH ARE AT RISK. One is five has suicidal thoughts and one in ten will make an attempt.

Warning Signs Risk Factors

  • Abrupt changes in personality
  • Giving away possessions
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Ending of a romance
  • Inability to tolerate frustration
  • Use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Depression. Lack of self esteem
  • Change in eating patterns (significant weight changes)
  • Unwillingness or inability to communicate
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Extreme or extended boredom
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Accident prone (carelessness)
  • Unusually long grief reaction
  • Unusual sadness, discouragement and loneliness
  • Hostile or reckless behavior
  • Neglect of personal appearance
  • Major loss (of loved one, home, loss through divorce, trauma, relationship)
  • Running away from home, or truancy from school.
  • Rebelliousness
  • Withdrawal (from people, especially close friends, family and or favorite activities)
  • Perfectionism
  • Restless
  • Anxiety — stress
  • Problems with school or the law
  • Unexpected pregnancy
  • A stressful family life
  • Parents who are substance abusers or depressed
  • Family history of suicide
  • Loss of self-esteem (humiliation)
  • Tendency toward impulsiveness/anger
  • Stress due to new situations: beginning new school, college or relocating to a new community
  • Loss of security. Fear of higher ups, group or gang
  • A serious illness or injury
  • Failing in school or failing to pass an important test
  • Remorse causing another person’s pain: a broken romance, an accident that injured another person
  • Recognizing Possible Suicidal Behavior in the Classroom

The signs and symptoms of depression and suicidal behavior in adolescents are often observable behaviors first noticed by school personnel. The following lists common changes in classroom behavior which may reflect serious depression and/or suicidal behavior.

  • Remain alert to excessive absenteeism in a student with a good attendance record, particularly when the change is sudden.
  • Question any unexpected and sudden decreases in school performance, inability to concentrate is frequently found in depressed adolescents, leading to poor school performance.
  • This may be due to a variety of factors. However, this is often seen in depressed and suicidal youngsters.
  • It is difficult to maintain surveillance over so many adolescents. However, one of the first signs of a potentially suicidal adolescent is general withdrawal, disengagement and apathy.
  • Additional evidence of personal despair may be abrupt changes in friendships and social relationships.
  • Depressed, stressed and potentially suicidal individuals demonstrate wide mood swings and unexpected displays of emotion. Try to stay alert to times when a student’s reactions seem excessive.
  • Teachers sometimes give up on a chronic, nonparticipating students who do not cause problems in the classroom. Be sure that these students are, in fact, nonparticipants and not potentially suicidal.
  • The selection of materials centering on ideas about death or dying, the uselessness or worthlessness of life, or matters relating to persons who have committed suicide should be viewed as warning signs for teachers – particularly if this occurs on more than one occasion.
  • Recognizing Possible Suicidal Behavior Out of the Classroom
  • These signs are likely to be observed in a student’s general behavior and do not necessarily mean that someone is considering suicide. They are warning signs and should generate attention.
  • There may be a noticeable decrease or increase in appetite with significant weight change, insomnia or a desire to sleep all of the time.
  • The young person may often appear sad and depressed and show signs of tension and extreme anxiety.
  • Behavior may include substance abuse, refusal to go to school, sexual promiscuity, running away, fighting, recklessness, purposely hurting one’s body, delinquency, preoccupation with revenge.
  • Distraught students are likely to have wide and unpredictable mood swings. Particular attention should be given to a sudden change in mood from depression to cheerfulness, as if the answer to the problem is now clear.
  • Statements might include references to feeling constantly hassled, under stress or unable to concentrate or rest properly.
  • Students who do not care about the future or have decided that they will not be around are likely to give away possession that they value.
  • All suicide threats and attempts should be taken seriously. At added risk are students who have threatened or attempted suicide before. In the latter case, the usual inhibitions against hurting themselves have been removed.
  • Losses of significant others are misfortunes that adults learn to handle. For developing adolescents, these events can be devastating and can overtax their current coping skills. Examples are death or divorce of parents, losing a close friend, breaking up with a steady, being cut from an athletic team.
  • Students who are substance abusers tend to be at higher risk for suicide. Heavy drug and alcohol users are likely to be depressed youngsters who are seeking relief. Eventually these substances stop working and, in fact, contribute to a greater depression. These substances also contribute to impulsive behavior which often leads to accidents and suicide.
  • A recent suicide in the family significantly increases the suicide risk of survivors for the following reasons: a) a pervading sense that they, too, are doomed to commit suicide; b) an unbearable grief, depression and/or guilt over the loss of a loved one; c) a fear of mental illness; and d) a realization that suicide presents an optional way out of an unwelcome and painfully unhappy life.

Do one thing…and then do another!

Want to help?

Many people want to help do something about suicide prevention, but may not know what to do. We have made it easy. Do anything on this “DO ONE THING” list and you will have made a difference for someone. Do them all, and maybe you can save a life.

  • Talk to a young person about suicide. Ask them if they have ever had suicidal thoughts.
  • Tell someone else about the Yellow Ribbon Program and ask them to tell someone.
  • Join our organization. A small amount of money can save a young life.
  • Write a letter to a Middle School, High School or College asking them to distribute Yellow Ribbon Information to students.
  • Contact a youth director at a church or synagogue and ask them to use the Yellow Ribbon Program.
  • Call a school principal and ask if they have a Yellow Ribbon Program.
  • Show the video “No More Tomorrows” to someone.
  • Give the video “No More Tomorrows” to a school, a church/synagogue or youth group.
  • Wear a Yellow Ribbon pin and explain what it is to everyone who asks.
  • Participate in Yellow Ribbon Week – check their website
  • Contact a member of the U.S. House of Representatives or U.S. Senate and ask them to sponsor National Yellow Ribbon Week
  • Contact your city or state government officials and ask when funding will be given for suicide prevention programs and tell them about the Yellow Ribbon Program.
  • Tell a survivor of suicide that you care. (Survivors are people who have lost someone to suicide or people who survive an attempt.)
  • Do something – now!       Thank you for caring….

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Feeling Sad, Stressed, Depressed? Important Numbers & Links To Prevent Suicide

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Monica Zech

Dear Friends,

Thank you for checking this posting.

Many of us have experienced the feeling of loss, sadness, depression, and stress…sometimes leading to thoughts of “suicide.”  The worst thing you can do is to drink alcoholic beverages – this will only make the problem seem bigger.  Alcohol is a drug – a depressant, thus making you depressed.

Please click on the following link for a story about “help” available in our County.  There is “hope” – and sometimes, by having a clear-rested mind, such as good nights sleep, the problem is not as bad as it first seemed.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255

If you’ve had thoughts that “no one cares” – “wrong” – I care about you, and that’s why I’m posting this very important link.  There is hope – here are additional resources.

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Is Your Safety Car Seat Installed Correctly?

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Monica Zech

Remember, when buying a safety car seat you’re investing in your child’s safety & future.

For some immediate help visit: or – great for recall information. Check it regularly for any changes or alerts.

Another important safety website is from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – here is their information on safety car seats:

Here in San Diego County contact the Pacific Safety Center to check and see if your carseat is installed correctly.

Pacific Safety Council  858-621-2313 x116

*You could also try calling your local police department to see if there is someone trained to help you install your safety car seat.

Know the Law!

  • Children 8 years old or 80 pounds must be in a child passenger safety seat. Infants should ride in rear-facing safety seats as long as possible until they are 12 months old and weigh 20 pounds. Children, who are at least 1 year old, weigh 20 to 40 pounds, and can no longer ride rear-facing should ride in forward-facing child safety seats. Children over 40 pounds should be correctly secured in belt-positioning boosters or other appropriate child restraints or safety car seat until the adult lap and shoulder belts fit correctly (usually around age 8). Once the vehicle safety belts fit children, both lap and shoulder belts should be correctly used. All children ages 12 and under should always be properly restrained in the back seat every time, no matter how short the trip.
  • All safety seats must be installed and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and vehicle owner’s manual.
  • READ YOUR MANUALS! You will be surprised at the information that is available to you.
  • Buckle-UP – it’s a snap!!!” Research shows if you buckle-up your children will buckle-up! As emergency agencies, almost daily we see how wearing a seat restraint increases your chances of survival in a car collision. It’s being prepared for the “un-expected!” And it’s the LAW! A law that’s saving lives!
  • Note: As a parent – are you always buckled up correctly – and is your child’s safety car seat installed correctly?
  • Unfortunately, studies show over 90% of the safety car seats in use are not installed correctly! So the fatality rate is very high for children involved in car collisions.
  • Another fact – not all safety car seats fit all cars!
  • When buying a new safety car seat “always” send in the warranty cards in case of recalls. Don’t scrimp on your child’s safety – never buy a car seat from a garage sale or thrift store, or as a hand me down from a friend.

Some Facts about Safety Seats

  • Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injuries and death for children.
  • When used correctly, child safety seats can reduce fatal injuries in cars by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for children from age 1-4.
  • Don’t forget to always wear your seat belt and be a good safety role model for your children…in everything you do.

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Just Slow Down! Speed Kills and Injures (Video)

Posted on 08 April 2018 by Monica Zech

A powerful video reminding us to “slow down” especially on surface streets, especially in the area around schools:

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DUI Driver Sentenced to 17 Years for Crash that Killed 2, Seriously Injured 3 Others

Posted on 08 April 2018 by Monica Zech

Man gets 17 years in prison for the 2015 wrong way crash that killed two medical school students, and badly injured three others…

Jason Riley King 

Greg Moran – Reporter

A San Diego judge sentenced a former Miramar Marine who drove the wrong way down a freeway while drunk, crashing into a car full of medical students and killing two, to 17 years in prison Friday.

The sentence Judge Joan Weber handed down to Jason Riley King brought to a close a gut-wrenching case, one that the veteran jurist who has been on the bench for 28 years said was the worst case of its kind she has handled.

DUI driver Jason-riley-King-age 24 Killed 2 1024x574

“This is, without question, the most tragic one I’ve ever had,” said Weber, one of the San Diego Superior Court’s most experienced judges who has presided over numerous homicide and violent crime cases.

King, 24, was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and drunken driving in January. The same jury that found King guilty of those crimes, acquitted him of the far more serious charge of murder in connection with the May 16, 2015 collision that killed two medical school students, 23-year-old Madison Cornwell and 24-year-old Anne Li Baldock.

UCSD-med-students Madison and Anne killed by DUI driver-768x416

Three others who were passengers in Cornwell’s car were seriously injured.

King was found to have a blood alcohol content of between 0.15 percent and 0.20 percent, well above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The crash occurred on state Route 163 near Interstate 8. King, then a Miramar-based Marine, was driving south in the northbound lane following a night of heavy drinking at a Mission Valley bar.

The raised F-350 truck he was driving smashed head-on into the Prius Cornwell was piloting, shearing off the left side of the smaller car.

At the trial, Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright told the jury that both a bartender and a friend King was with tried to stop him from driving but King insisted, remarking “I got myself here, I’ll get myself home.”

King’s attorney Richard Hutton admitted in trial that his client was intoxicated and driving but said he was not guilty of murder. That would require prosecutors proving King acted deliberately, which he contended he did not.

On Friday, Hutton said Riley would have pleaded guilty much earlier, and avoided the trial, if prosecutors had not insisted on pursuing a murder charge.

Weber noted that Cornwell and Baldock were young women of great promise, one aiming to be a pediatrician and the other a neurosurgeon.

Laura Cornwell read a powerful statement in court, recalling that her daughter’s “gentle ways, smile and warmth drew people to her.”

Cornwell, Baldock and their friends were were celebrating the end of their second year of classes. The group gathered for a house party in Hillcrest, with Cornwell as the designated driver.

She dropped off one student in North Park, then headed north to the UC San Diego graduate student housing where the rest of the students lived.

One of the injured, Stosh Ozog, testified the collision left him with his spine fractured in three places, two broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a concussion and other injuries. He wore a back brace for four months and still endures pain as he continues his medical school program, he said.

Jared Molitoris said he suffered a fractured sternum and learning disabilities including memory loss, which delayed his return to medical school until last May.

A third passenger, Yuki Iizuka, has suffered severe memory loss from brain trauma, along with a fractured femur and eye and hand injuries that all required several surgeries. He resumed medical school last May.

His mother, Maki, told the judge that her son has worked incredibly hard to get back to school, but will always have to deal with the damage from the crash. She urged King, who spent most of the hearing weeping and apologized to the families in a brief statement, to do the same while in prison.

“I want you to study, learn,” she said forcefully. “I want you to learn what parents who lose children go through.”

Before pronouncing the sentence, Weber said the case had impacted six families — those of the victims and King’s, who were also in attendance. “You could not have a more tragic case than what we went through,” she said of the trial.

And she added a sad and true coda about this case, and similar fatal drunken driving cases. “In 2018, as it was in 2015,” the judge said, “this crime is preventable.” With ride hailing services like Uber and Lyft, taxis, and other options, drunken driving deaths can be avoided, she said.

The case prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a state law last year requiring bartenders to take training in recognizing when customers are too drunk to be served more alcohol.



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