UCI alumna Jessica Hoke left many friends, family members and admirers when she died last year, the victim of a random but preventable accident. A 17-year-old driver searching for his iPod ran a red light and hit two cars in an intersection near South Coast Plaza. Flying debris hit the literary journalism graduate as she waited to cross the street. She died three days later.
Now those she left behind are using her death as a teachable moment, urging all drivers to the “Drive Aware” pledge, created by Gary and Paula Hoke in memory of their daughter. It’s a vow to refrain from texting, selecting music on mobile devices, using headphones and other distracting activities while behind the wheel.
The daylong event at UCI will include several musical artists – a tribute to Jessica Hoke’s love of music. There also will be an art exhibit featuring the photographic work of Hoke and others, as well as a reflective walk around Aldrich Park. Proceeds from the sale of key chains, T-shirts and art will benefit the KUCI-FM radio station, where Hoke worked as a deejay while attending UCI.
“Nobody thinks about distracted driving, especially college students,” said Charlene Ip, a senior psychology & social behavior major who’s helping to organize the proceedings along with Kevin Stockdale of KUCI. “A lot of us think that we’re good enough drivers to multitask behind the wheel with little consequence, but accidents happen. Not only does Jessica’s story teach us that distracted driving can have deadly outcomes, but it teaches us that we should live every day with passion.”
Gary Hoke, who will speak at the event, said: “The main thing, of course, is to have people pledge. We want to curb this epidemic, and it is an epidemic. We’re trying to make something positive come out of this and ensure that other people don’t have to endure the tragedy we did.”
UCI’s Aldrich Park (grid F8 on campus map)