On the morning of March 7, 2015, Jonathan “Johnny” Yoder was on his way to buy a new car for his growing family. Cindy, his wife of two and a half years, was eight months pregnant with the couple’s first child when she received the phone call that would change their lives forever: Johnny was killed in a car crash by a distracted driver.
Johnny was rounding a corner when a driver who was texting and driving hit him head on. The Yoder’s small compact car was not a match for the driver’s SUV—the larger vehicle completely ran over the car, killing the 26-year-old of Louisville, Ohio.
Those who knew Johnny describe him as being close to God and athletic. He was energetic, adventurous, and hardworking. Johnny loved to read, hike, swim, snorkel and travel. He was a member of the Band of Brothers in Life Leadership, Inc. and was dedicated to helping others live their life with purpose.
Most of all, Johnny is remembered as being a good dad although he never got the opportunity to meet his daughter, who was born 40 days after Johnny was killed. “He really loved her,” Cindy said of Jianna, their now two-year-old child. Johnny spent his last few months of life reading parenting books and watching videos to teach himself how to change diapers and care for a newborn. “He loved the idea of being a dad. He definitely would have been the best dad he could be to her,” Cindy said.
This is the price of distracted driving. A young man whose whole life was ahead of him was taken by someone more focused on their cell phone than the road. “I’m not only grieving his loss, I’m also grieving the loss of the life I was going to have with him. The life my daughter was going to have with her dad,” Cindy explained. Johnny’s daughter will never have the opportunity to go to her first father-daughter dance, have her father see her off on her first day of school or have her dad walk her down the aisle at her wedding. “That’s what happens to the people that are left,” Cindy said. “[We’re left] collecting the pieces.”