Alex Heit, aged 22, was traveling on a turn in the roadway with a very narrow, dirt shoulder and a steep drop in Greeley, CO on April 3, 2013. Witnesses said he appeared to have his head down, and began drifting into the oncoming lane of traffic. A westbound vehicle slowed and moved over just before Heit looked up. As he did, Heit jerked the steering wheel hard, over-correcting, resulting in his leaving the roadway, rolling and flipping his vehicle. Alex died shortly thereafter. Alex was in the middle of a text at the time of the crash.
Alex grew up in Boulder, living with his parents, Sharon and Steven and younger sister, Chloe Heit. After graduating Fairview High School with honors in 2009, he enrolled at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where he was studying audiology. Alex’s interest in the science of hearing and balance was spurred by his grandfather’s struggles with hearing loss. Alex excelled in the sciences and was looking for an opportunity to use his knowledge of biology and anatomy to help people one on one. Ultimately, he wanted to go into private practice.
Alex’s professional aspirations were just an extension of his personality, according to his family. He was kind to people and all living things and longed for a more just world.
Typifying Alex’s concern for all living things was an event on a family ski trip to Copper Mountain shortly before Alex’s death. As the family prepared to make their first run, Alex spotted a white ferret that was writhing in the snow and appeared to be in distress. He immediately jumped off his snowboard and went over to the animal to check on it. He only agreed to leave its side and return to snowboarding after he had taken the time to build it a small nest to keep it warm.
In addition to enjoying snowboarding, Alex was a Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks junior ranger, a volunteer for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley and Boulder Community Hospital. He was also a lifeguard with Boulder Parks and Recreation and twice was involved in rescues.
Hoping to deter others from texting and driving, Alex’s parents, Steve and Sharon, have made public the texting sequence that Alex was involved in at the time of the crash via a photo of his cell phone. “Ya that’s cool lol no worries” – following incoming text – “Hey man I had to run out for like an hr”- Alex’s unfinished reply – “Sounds good my man, seeya soon, ill tw”
Given Alex’s love of the outdoors, the Heit family has organized a reforestation/wildlands rebuilding project in Alex’s honor.