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Law enforcement in McMinn County hope lessons learned after a texting and driving accident. will inspire other drivers to put down the phone.

Back in June, teenager Nick Austin took his eyes off the road for a few seconds to send a text. A moment later, he crashed head on into McMinn County deputy Randy Gabrel.

Both survived the serious crash with injuries. They later met and formed an unlikely friendship.

Now, they're part of a new McMinn County Sheriff's Office campaign against texting and driving. They hope their experience will make other drivers think twice.

"It may have been a mistake, but we're here today to talk about it. so that's a good thing," said Austin.

"I realize I've been given a second chance, and I'm gonna make something positive out of it," said Gabrel.

The sheriff's office kept the crashed vehicles to use as an example of what can happen when people text while driving.

Austin and Gabrel say they plan to travel to schools and events in the region to help spread their message on distracted driving.

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