Local Family Honors Son By Educating Public On Dangers of Distracted Driving
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photography provided by the Living For Logan Foundation
The Scherer family, originally from Center Grove, moved to Florida in 2007 so that Brooke Scherer (a Center Grove graduate) could pursue post-secondary education. In 2010, she took a job as a graphic design professor at the University of Tampa. Her husband Jordan worked for a marketing company. Together, they had two beautiful children: Logan and Mallory.
On September 15, 2016, the family was headed north of Tampa on I-75 when suddenly a horrific traffic jam brought them to a complete stop. Moments later, their SUV was struck violently from behind by a driver who was estimated to be going 100 MPH. The man didn’t break, swerve or attempt to move out of the way because he was looking down at his phone. Nine-year-old Logan was killed instantly in the crash. The rest of the family sustained serious injuries but miraculously survived.
According to Brooke, it’s not that people don’t recognize the dangers of texting while behind the wheel. It’s just that they think nothing bad will ever befall them. As a result, the rate of distracted driving is growing exponentially by the day.
Last year the Scherers moved back to Center Grove. In the two years since the accident, the family has done what Brooke calls “a tremendous amount of grief work.” Part of the healing has also come from creating a federally registered 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation called Living for Logan — the only Indiana-based non-profit for distracted driving. Brooke and Jordan launched the foundation not to shame but rather to educate the public on the dangers of looking down even for a second.
“Everybody does it. We were offenders as well,” Brooke says. “The problem is that people are addicted to their phones.”
She notes how the population is notorious for checking their phones while sitting at a stoplight — a seemingly innocuous time to do so. But Brooke cites research conducted by David Strayer, a psychologist at the University of Utah, who found that 27 seconds after checking technology, the mind is still distracted.
“If you receive an emotional text while at that stoplight, you’re going to be thinking about it after the light has turned,” says Brooke, who is quick to point out that it’s not just about texting. Distraction can come from changing a radio station or handing a snack to a child in the backseat.
“In that split-second of looking down or glancing behind you, what could be in front of you?” Brooke says. According to her research, 20 to 44-year-olds are the worst offenders for distracted driving. And since a large portion of this demographic is parents, they are leading poorly by example.
“Children see the two people they look up to as being all-knowing driving with phones in their hands, so they think it’s okay to do it, too,” Brooke says.
“People are watching movies in their vehicles because technology allows for it,” Jordan says. “We had a friend who proudly told us that he had an iPad mounted where the radio would go in the car. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean it’s intelligent.”
The Living for Logan Foundation is comprised of three major initiatives: 1) Logan’s Drive, which encompasses the educational and fundraising aspects, 2) Logan’s Hope, which is about advocacy for other families who have experienced the same type of tragedy, and 3) Logan’s Legacy, which is about fighting for uniform laws across the nation. Their ultimate goal is for everything to be hands-free.
He loved to read about history and was well-versed on historical landmarks. He was obsessed with the Titanic and Abraham Lincoln. The night before he passed away, he told his mom that he wanted to go see Big Ben. But he also loved soccer, video games, music and drawing. And he was kind — always smiling to passing students in the hallway.
“Logan had so much to offer this world — and he still will, just in a different way,” Brooke says. “He’ll leave behind a legacy that will save lives. I always felt that he was going to do something big, and he is.”
On September 15, the family kicks off their annual fundraiser to be held at Rascal’s Fun Zone. For more information, visit livingforlogan.org or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.