Four years ago on Oct. 19, 16-year-old Conor Lynch was running after school, training with the Cross Country team at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, when an 18-year-old woman ran him down on Woodman Avenue.
"She didn't stop," said Jeri Dye Lynch, Conor's mother, who is still grieving "There was no braking, and she didn't call immediately to 911."
The driver initially left the scene, only to return later and still be charged with a hit-and-run crash causing a death.
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"It's pretty hard to think about that somebody would hit someone," Lynch said. "And then leave a young person to die in the street alone."
It was later revealed the driver was texting at the time and did not see the runners.
While the driver's life continues today, Conor's stopped short.
"He never went to prom, never got to graduate," Lynch said. "All those things that we want our kids to be able to achieve."
Conor's death highlights National Teen Driver Safety Week in Los Angeles. Notre Dame High School itself hosted a Mercedes-Benz Driving School-sponsored event with the California Highway Patrol to show students just how dangerous distracted driving can be.
In a simulated course, teens were put to the test, driving while a passenger distracted them with text messages, photos on smart phones, loud music and even louder chatter.
"I never knew just how distracted you could be with people yelling at you, calling you, like texting, it was kinda crazy," said Sarah Tobo, who just got her license in June. She says what she's learned so far is that often teens just aren't ready for the responsibility.
"They think they're the best at driving and stuff, they don't think about what could happen," Tobo said.
Students got to hear first hand accounts from people like Lynch and Gonzalo Aranguiz, who was behind the wheel last February when he reached for his phone and ran down another teen on his bicycle.
"It's an experience that stays with me and is going to stay with me the rest of my life," he said. "But I want his life to be worth something."
Aranguiz says he served probation for the death of the Cal-Poly student, who, like him, would have been the first of his family to attend college.
"I can't live a normal life, I don't want to," said Aranguiz, now an engineer who dedicates time to speaking to students about the importance of paying attention behind the wheel.
Statistics provided by the CHP show 11 teens die every day in the United States because of distracted driving. Various community groups are also promoting safe driving reminders throughout the week.
State Farm Insurance Company started the website Celebrate My Drive to promote safety behind the wheel.
For Jeri Dye Lynch, the loss of Conor isn't just an annual reminder, but a daily one. Thousands are expected to join her and other grieving families on Sunday in a special 5k Run/Walk to honor her son. For more information about the event and the Conor Lynch Foundation, visit http://www.inhonorofconor.org.