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The Safety Institute Survivor’s Story: Jerry Cibley

10 comments

The Safety Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to injury prevention and product safety. As part of its mission, the TSI Survivor's Network offers support to survivors and family members to offer help and support following a catastrophic injury.

TSI's Survivor's Network has launched a YouTube channel to tell real life stories of survival and perseverance.

The third video in the Safety Institute's series tells the story of Jerry Cibley. As Lewis Howe wrote on the Safety Institute site, "Even for those who make their living in the injury prevention world, the circumstances of Jordan Cibley's death contain enough elements of irony and heartache to stir the soul."

On Mother's Day, Jordan (a senior in high school) called to say he would be home soon. Then, suddenly, the line went dead. Call backs went to Jordan's voicemail and minutes later police were at the door confirming a parent's worst fear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoSjLrron7w&feature=player_embedded

Click here to learn more about or become involved with The Safety Institute.

Update (9/27/2012):

You'll notice I received some comments from a gentleman, Mr. Kaplan, who represented himself to be Jordan Cibley's step-father. I also spoke to Mr. Kaplan by telephone. Mr. Kaplan has suggested the post above failed to report the complete facts involving Jordan Cibley's death. Let me attempt to address Mr. Kaplan's concerns:

Mr. Kaplan requested I provide additional information regarding the facts of the collision. You can find a number of results simply by performing a Google search for "Jordan Cibley". You can also search for "Kenneth Kaplan Jordan Cibley". Some of the results that come up are:

In Foxboro, mourning a very special young man [Amy DeMelia, David Linton, and Michael Gelbwasser at The Sun Chronicle on May 15, 2007]. According to this report, "Patrolman David Ruskey, who is investigating with Detective Stephen Desfosses, said neither speed nor alcohol were factors in the accident." The investigators said further, "We're still looking into what possibly led to this."

Foxboro teen killed in Norton crash [Cathy Gilbertie Knipper and Heather McCarron at Norton Mirror on May 17, 2007]. According to this report, "A Foxboro teen killed in Norton Sunday, May 13 was on his cell phone with his father when his vehicle veered across the center line of Barrows Street in Norton, striking a tree, according to police." The report also said: "Ruskey said alcohol was not a factor in the accident." According to Foxboro Police Chief Edward O'Leary, "driving while using a cell phone is a distracting activity that can lead to dangerous situations and, as in this case, tragedy."

More reports:

It also appears that Mr. Kaplan has attempted to make his view of the collision known in other media:

Having provided links to additional reporting (both near the time of the incident and several years later and including Mr. Kaplan's own letter to the editor), I will leave it to you, the reader, to reach your own conclusion as to what caused Jordan Cibley's tragic death.

Because Mr. Kaplan also raised concerns about the purpose of this post, let me also address that issue. This purpose of this post was to support and draw attention to the work of The Safety Institute. I have found the Safety Institute to be a worthy non-profit that provides critical support for those who have been touched by traumatic injury or death in their lives due to safety issues. TSI's work in supporting families and improving safety should be commended and supported. A secondary purpose – like many of my posts – is draw attention to the tragic dangers of distracted driving. This post is what bloggers consider a "link-post". I found information produced and provided by The Safety Institute to be relevant and interesting. I provided a very brief summary and a link with attribution to The Safety Institute's video and material. You can think of this style of post as a "single-serving round up".

I intend my posts to be accurate and enlightening to my readers. While I appreciate Mr. Kaplan's concerns regarding the completeness of the information, except for Mr. Kaplan's own letter to the editor, I have been unable to independently verify his account of the collision. However, this has always been a respectful and open forum. Out of respect for him and his family, I have provided the additional information above. Mr. Kaplan is welcome and encouraged to provide additional information and links as he deems appropriate to "complete" the record and, as always, I will leave it to you – the reader – to reach your own conclusion.

I take the accuracy of my writing and ethical responsibilities seriously. Though Mr. Kaplan has described our conversation as "a bit argumentative", I was happy to speak with him and attempt to address his concerns. I hope this update remedies his concerns.

(c) Copyright 2012 Brett A. Emison

Follow @BrettEmison on Twitter.

10 Comments

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  1. Kenneth L. Kaplan says:
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    To be complete, to the best of my knowledge, the facts, not unsubstantiated theories, are that Jordan Cibley died a direct result of his driving his car into a tree at a time when he was not wearing a seatbelt and per the toxicology reports, had an elevated level of a drug in his blood. Prior to this accident Jordan complained he could not remain awake, function normally and had difficulty in operating a car as was evidenced I suggest by his driving record and other incidents of strange and unusual conduct, i.e. as a passenger in a car jumping out in the middle of a busy intersection, etc. I am now informed that due to his driving record, the registry of motor vehicles had suspended his driving license priviledges just prior to his accident. If you are to use Jordan as a poster child in an effort to provide a public service, be complete, he is more of a poster child for the cause of not taking drugs while driving, always wearing a seat belt, not all 18 year old children are mature enough to be operating a vehicle and parents should not be telephoning their children at times they know they are operating a vehicle.

    Shame on Mr. Emison for incomplete reporting and his perhaps shoddy journalism!!!

    I am Jordans step dad and married to Jordan’s biological mother.

  2. Kenneth L. Kaplan says:
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    As a follow up I would like to now report that I spoke to, I believe the executive director, Lewis, of The Safety Institute and he reports that although he was notified of various disputes, he did not dilegently verify the complete facts prior to relasing the video. He further confirmed that he never contacted me before in these regards. He now said he will verify the facts as I hve presented. He never discussed a next step with me but did take my contact inforation.

    I spoke with the “poster” Brett Emison, whom n general I found to be a bit argumentative. He presents that he simply used the information from The Safety Institute as presented and took no further steps to verify the completeness of the circumstances of Jordan’s death. When I suggested that his public service here seemed to me to also have an advertising component, he disagreed. He concluded that now that I have posted that the story is now complete and therefore no further action is required, (for example removing his post was discussed), by him or his firm and that he would not further discuss with me but would further consider if he needs to take any further action.

    Kenneth L. Kaplan

  3. Kenneth L. Kaplan says:
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    I am appreciative that the “poster” Mr. Brett Emison, albeit a bit after the initial point of reporting, has now taken the additional step. You see, the full and truthful complete circumstances in actuality, I believe, serves to save yet even further lives than the unsubstantited dramatic theories presented by individuals that at times as it seems to me, promote but one self serving cause. The genuine and complete Jordan story kind of gets distorted and lost in the shuffle and the presenters seem to want to themselves rise to the top solely by the dramatized use of Jordans tragedy for yet an expanded perhaps self serving agenda. Jordan’s tragic dreath is enough drama in itself and does not need editorializing. The actors need not rewrite the history. Yes we should appreciate the efforts of all those that work so diligently to be promoting distracted driving casualties and for that mattr, all aspects of public safety and awareness, but please, the complete truth and the whole truth serves an even greater purpose then as the presenters present. Now let us please let the life honors of Jordan Cibley, rest in peace.

    Kenneth L. Kaplan

  4. Kenneth L. Kaplan says:
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    The executive director of The Safety Institute in part today writes, “Public Health communication leaders, from the CDC on down, have embraced
    personal storytelling as an effective means of messaging for safety. TSI
    is proud to have a number of Survivors, including Jerry Cibley, on our
    team.”

    My response in essence that story telling sounds like it is effective for the individual that is grieving and I think that is great. But I hardly agree that “storytelling”, when the story consists solely of a “story” and ignores the well documented independent facts of the professional independent investigators, is hardly the way that I believe the CDC would prescribe. Again, The Safety Institute clearly told me that prior to releasing the video they were aware of disputes but they simply performed no due diligence to verify the facts. That my readers, I find to be irresponsible and not what the seal of The safety Institute or the CDC should stand for in the public’s eyes.
    Safety Institute, I say, shame on you!!!

  5. Brett Emison says:
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    Mr. Kaplan,

    I certainly appreciate your position, but I think you miss the point of the Safety Institute’s Survivor’s Network and its Survivor Story series. As described on TSI’s site, “The Survivor’s network provides guidance and support to survivors and their families following catastrophic injury. In addition, it advocates for the prevention of injuries and promotes product safety.”

    As part of this goal, TSI has created the Survivor’s Story series. In announcing the series, TSI said “Some of TSI’s other Survivors have lost loved ones in car crashes, all-terrain vehicle rollovers, or medical errors. Others have endured, and recovered from, a range of unintentional injuries that may have been prevented. All have compelling stories to tell. these are folks whose lives have been forever changed and who want to let the rest of society know that these tragedies can be stopped, that those who grieve and suffer are not alone, and that help is available.”

    The point I believe you miss, Mr. Kaplan, is that that this is Larry Cibley’s story. This is his account as the Survivor featured in the story.

    You have made clear you disagree with his account. I don’t know what happened in your life or in your relationship with Mr. Cibley that feeds your desire to continue this dispute on this and other forums at the expense of your step-son’s memory.

    I have honored your request to provide additional information about the crash. All of the information I found – except for your own letter to the Editor – including Oprah Winfrey’s show support Mr. Cibley’s story that was featured on The Safety Institute series.

    The Safety Institute is an honorable charitable organziation that serves and supports hundreds, if not thousands, of families who have suffered unspeakable tragegy. I am honored to support The Safety Institute and their cause. I certainly encourage more people to do so.

    I wish you the best, but consider the matter closed. If you wish your story distributed, I suggest you simply continue telling your story.

  6. Kenneth L. Kaplan says:
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    Mr. Emison:

    With all due respect, and hopefully now to an end as with you, but you fail to distinguish in my opinion, the difference between one creating a, “story” in the confines of a closed group meeting perhaps supervised by one with specialized training in therapy treatments vs. The Safety Institute endorsing and promoting an unsubstantiated “story” under it’s seal which is presented to the unsuspecting public as being authenticated and is even perhaps being used for the purpose of influencing votes and legislation that ultimatemy could impact millions of Americans constitutional rights.

  7. Kenneth L. Kaplan says:
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    Mr. Emison:

    With all due respect, and hopefully now to an end as with you, but you fail to distinguish in my opinion, the difference between one creating a, “story” in the confines of a closed group meeting perhaps supervised by one with specialized training in therapy treatments vs. The Safety Institute endorsing and promoting an unsubstantiated “story” under it’s seal which is presented to the unsuspecting public as being authenticated and is even perhaps being used for the purpose of influencing votes and legislation that ultimatemy could impact millions of Americans constitutional rights.

  8. Brett Emison says:
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    Mr. Kaplan,

    I am at a loss in understanding your position and I can see you fail to understand mine. As shown above, independent journalists – including the Oprah Winfrey Show – endorsed Mr. Cibley’s account. I found no news report other than your own letter to the editor identifying any other version of the story.

    In any event, The Safety Institute very clearly indicated it was telling Mr. Cibley’s story about the loss of his son. That is precisely what it did.

    Barring the infinitely remote possibility that something about this story leads to a constitutional amendment, no one’s constitutional rights will be affected by Mr. Cibley’s story.

    It seems we’ll have to agree to disagree with respect to The Safety Institute’s publication of Mr. Cibley’s story, but thank you for reading and I wish you and your family the best.

  9. Kenneth L. Kaplan says:
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    Mr. Emison:

    I appreciate that as you self admit, you are at a, “loss”. The fact that you perhaps do not completely understand however is no excuse for your smacks of sarcasm in your replys. The death of Jordan and now events hardly warrants sarcasm.
    Firstly, the actors in the video are activists for banning hand held cell phones in cars. That is a political mission and a bit beyond one simply telling a story I suggest. This video and the incomplete facts I believe is a part of the cause. It is you that misrepresented what I blogged by your recharictarization of my reference of “constitutional right” to mean “constitutional amendment”. I refer you back to your law 101 courses which I assume you passed. To pass legislation banning the use of a hand held cell phone while driving a car, some believe that such legislation would create the taking away of ones assumed constitutional right to use a cell phone while driving. Please be respectful because I am not exactly the idiot you are attempting to portray here and I suggest I am more fully aware of years of history than you perhaps are.

    Because you subscribe to the theory that by your simply following the leaders of yesterday, i.e. Oprah, you must be correct, is a foolish assumption and most probably not at all the manner in which you were trained to practice law I imagine. Oprah is simply an entertainer for creating advertising revunes for profit. You are a lawyer with yet other responsibilities that extend to responsible journalism and advertising guidelines per very speciffic rules of professional conduct. I am not saying you speciffically violated any such rule because I am not sure, but I can say that I personally believe you were close to the edge as you originally blogged and posted.

    Best of luck to you too.

  10. Brett Emison says:
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    Mr. Kaplan,

    Indeed, I am at a loss in understanding your position. Suffice it to say, there is no one attaching your constitutional rights with respect to the TSI video of Mr. Cibley’s story. There is no constitutional right to drive distracted while operating a cellular telephone while driving. Programs across the country are dedicated to preventing distracted driving accidents. These programs are to be commended.

    Your comment is at least the second time you have referenced professional ethics in your conversations with me. I can assure I meet and exceed the ethical requirements in each of my posts including this one.

    Mr. Kaplan, I don’t understand the story you wish to tell, but I wish you the best in your efforts. Here, in these comments, is no longer the place.