His mother remembers him as a boy who loved life so much he didn't like to pause to eat or sleep. Sadly, Robin Keller's family learned that tragedy from mistakes behind the wheel don't just happen to other people. This is the story of Darrin Cale who died on August 9, 2001.

Darrin Edward Cale was the son of Joseph Eugene Cale and Robin Denise Keller. His mother Robin and sister Sharon have bravely decided to share his story in the hope that it will help others understand that one moment of distraction behind the wheel can cost a lifetime of memories.

Robin and Sharon remember what their life was like before tragedy took Darrin's life.

Robin Keller - "We were a tight knit family. Did a lot together. Played hard. Worked hard."

Sharon Stout - "It was just us...we didn't grow up with a whole lot, but we grew up with each other".

Photo courtesy of Robin Keller

Robin remembered Darrin as a boy who was very much alive when he was younger.

Robin Keller - "In the time he was on this Earth, he lived every minute of every day to its fullest. He didn't like to sleep. He didn't like to eat. It's like he knew his mission on this Earth was short so he made every minute of it."

The trajectory of their family's life changed the afternoon/evening of August 9, 2001. Robin was on her way back from a MODOT meeting in Jefferson City. Her last conversations with Darrin involved shoes she wanted to buy him from a store that was closing. Little did Robin know that would be the last time she would hear from her son.

Photo courtesy of Robin Keller

Robin Keller - "10 o'clock that night, I had a knock on the door. It was the coroner...said that my son was killed in a car accident...then they handed me his keys and his wallet."

Sharon Stout - "For me, I lived across town so to walk across town to get to my mom...I walked in...nobody could console losing a child or a sibling. That was the day we lost a piece of our family. Not only my brother, but my best friend...literally...Adam was in the vehicle with him. There went high school graduation...there went weddings...nieces and nephews. Our family was pulled tighter together to hold it together, but we were ripped apart."

Photo courtesy of Robin Keller

Darrin's sister Sharon was recently married and the family placed angel wings in the ceremony to represent Darrin since he couldn't be there with him.

Robin's family would like his death to be a reminder to others that no distraction in your vehicle is worth the price of living through a tragedy like this.

Robin Keller - "I never thought it would happen to me. I never thought it would be my child...

Sharon Stout - "You never know in the blink of an eye what's going to be taken away...the phone calls can wait. The fighting can wait...we're still waiting for my brother to come home."

MODOT and the NE Missouri Coalition has teamed up with this radio station to hammer home the reality that Drive Means Drive. Distracted driving has taken too many lives already. Put the phone down. Buckle up and arrive alive. Nothing is worth paying the price of living with a tragedy like the one that Robin Keller's family has endured.

Special thanks to Robin and Sharon for their bravery in telling Darrin's story in the hope of helping others.


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