Salem woman shares story of son's death in effort to save other teens from drunken driving accidents
Mollie Cobb remembers standing in her Salem kitchen, talking to her son, Jordan, about a young woman he knew who had just died in a drunken driving accident.
“‘She's not coming back,'” Cobb told her son. “‘We can fix anything else that happens, but you can't come back from dead.' Over and over I said it.”
A year later, in the early morning hours of June 26, 2010, Jordan Cobb, 19, and three of his friends went to a graduation party where a half-keg of beer was served.
Instead of calling someone sober for a ride, Jordan Cobb did what his mom feared.
He got into a car with a drunken driver and was killed in a crash.
His mother has made it her mission to reach teenagers with the message that her son did not heed. Her efforts have made the pages of the 2013 West Penn Allegheny LifeFlight calendar.
“I tried to make this into something positive, something that helps me because I can't dwell on the negative things,” Cobb said of the accident that claimed the lives of her son and two of his friends. A fourth teen was injured.
Last year, LifeFlight outreach development coordinator Eric Schmidt was looking for a speaker for a program about drunken driving at Fox Chapel High School.
He read about the Salem accident and reached out to the funeral director who handled arrangements for the victims to ask whether any of their parents would be willing to speak.
Cobb said she would.
“We know kids drink. We're not going to change that, but I told them, ‘Sleep in your car. Call somebody you trust. Your life is too important,'” she said.
Cobb said kids were crying by the end of her presentation, which included cellphone photos taken on the last night of her son's life as well as photos of his body in the vehicle.
“That's the reality,” she told them. “This is how you will look. You will be dead, and you will not be coming back.”
Since then, she has spoken to students at Hempfield Area High School and inmates in the State Correctional Institution at Greensburg.
And she has become involved in an anti-drunken driving program at the Franklin Regional School District in Murrysville.
Cobb is “an amazing woman,” Schmidt said.
He asked for her to pose for the LifeFlight calendar in hopes her story can prevent other tragedies.
“We're interested in helping her find other opportunities because her message is very powerful,” Schmidt said. “Nobody can get through to a young person in the way that she can.”
Schmidt hopes that Cobb's picture in the March section of the calendar will encourage ambulance services to invite her to speak at pre-prom events throughout the region.
Cobb said she's willing to speak to any group.
“If I can just save one family from going through this — I may never know — but I will know who I didn't reach when I pick up the paper and it says, ‘Hempfield teen killed in a drunk driving accident,'” Cobb said. “If I reach one, I'd be somewhat comforted in losing my own.”
Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer forTrib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.