South Dakota coach speaks out about distracted driving

Published: Jun. 24, 2018 at 11:55 AM CDT
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A Sioux Falls high school basketball coach has been speaking to students across the Midwest about distracted driving ever since his cousin was killed four years ago.

Tim Weidenbach has given more than 100 speeches, traveled throughout four states and reached more than 10,000 people, the Argus Leader newspaper reported. The assistant coach at O'Gorman Catholic High School runs the nonprofit Higher Power Sports, which aims to address youth issues such as distracted driving, cyber bullying and social exclusion.

Weidenbach makes his presentations personal, as he did recently while speaking to Vermillion High School students. He shared the story of his cousin, Andrea Boeve, who was killed by a distracted driver while riding her bicycle.

"The other thing I want say about this accident, this day, is that it was 100 percent preventable," he said at the Vermillion school.

Driver's Education Teacher Jim Trett hired Weidenbach to speak about distracted driving to his students at Washington High School in Sioux Falls.

"It's a huge problem in this country right now, as bad as drunk driving," Trett said.

Weidenbach is good at making students aware that picking up their "phone and causing an accident is not just something that bad people do," he said. "This is something that can happen to anyone."

Weidenbach said he becomes emotional every time he gives a speech.

"I never want to come out and talk to kids with some kind of canned deal," he said. "I was probably on the verge of crying 25 times today. Some people might call that a curse, but like Jim Valvano said, if you laugh and you cry, that's a full day. That's my life."

Weidenbach has traveled throughout South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska as part of the nonprofit.