Eric Okerblom, 19 – CA

eric On July 25, 2009, Eric was bicycling on a straight, unobstructed, country road. Although visible for hundreds of yards, he was struck and killed by a distracted teenage driver who neither swerved nor braked. Cell phone records indicate that the driver was texting just prior to the collision.

Eric was a remarkable young man. While still in high school, he had already developed as an artist and a musician, earned seven varsity letters and was a National Merit Finalist. In a single weekend he both ran the LA Marathon (without training) and presented his original research at a youth scientific symposium.

Eric Okerblom.jpeg 10He dabbled in beekeeping, was intrigued by carnivorous plants, loved mountains, enjoyed photography, and rocketed on a snowboard.

Eric was wise, gentle, sensitive, and genuine; a quiet leader who was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by his senior class. Despite all of his gifts, Eric was humble and grateful. Eric was the rare, enlightened person you would want for a friend.

In the summer of 2009, Eric studied and traveled in Nicaragua with his life’s love, Holly. Soon he would return to the University of California at Berkeley to resume his studies in Molecular Biology. He was very committed to improving this world and hoped to find a cure for cancer.

The Tour de France had just ended and Eric became enamored with cycling. He was intent on joining the Cal cycling team in the fall.

Eric Okerblom.jpeg12Eric’s family has established the Eric Okerblom Foundation, whose mission in part, is to combat distracted driving.

Eric is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Faces of Distracted Driving” series. View the video below: