SARANAC LAKE - College graduation should be one of the happiest days of a person's life. For Jacy Good, it will forever be remembered as the day her parents were killed and she was left partially paralyzed.
Jacy is known for her appearances on "Oprah" and "Say Yes to the Dress" and has been featured in publications like People, in her quest to prevent distracted driving, which caused the crash that changed her life.
"If I can get laws passed," Good told People magazine, "then my parents died for a reason."
In May 2008, on their way home from her graduation from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., the car carrying Jacy and her parents was struck head-on by a tractor trailer as both entered an intersection with green lights. The truck had swerved to try to avoid a man coming from the intersecting road who attempted to turn left through a red light. That man was talking on his phone at the time.
Her parents didn't survive the crash. Through the efforts of an off-duty paramedic, Jacy miraculously survived. The first night, Jacy was given just a 10 percent chance of survival as she lay in a coma. Although she recovered, a traumatic brain injury left her unable to use her left arm or lower leg and with minor cognitive issues.
Upon recovery, Jacy immediately went to work in her fight against distracted driving, which can mean anything from cell phone use (texting or calling) to eating, drinking or playing with the radio.
Jacy brought her story to local students at 8:30 a.m. today at the Tupper Lake High School and at the Saranac Lake High School later in the morning.
Brian Goetz, traffic supervisor for state police, said Jacy left a lasting impression on students at the Lake Placid High School last year and that with prom season coming up, this is a perfect time to bring Jacy back to local schools.
"It was very well received," he said of last year's Lake Placid event. "She had half the teachers in tears. It was very touching."
Goetz said although he has seen her presentation seven or eight times now, it never gets old.
"Every time, you get those same cold chills," he said. "I think it's a presentation that should be done at every school. If it changes one person's lifestyle, that could be the one person who caused the accident that killed her parents."
The presentation was brought to local students by state police and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Traffic Safety Committee.