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'I was out of control': Distracted semi driver speaks out after killing Wisconsin father

Posted at 8:54 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 23:21:32-05

LAKE ELMO, Minn. -- It is eight seconds a Wisconsin truck driver wishes he could take back, and now he is speaking for the first time about a horrible crash that changed the lives of two Wisconsin families forever.

Samuel Hicks, of Independence, Wisconsin, was driving his semi in February of 2018 along a road in Lake Elmo, just over the border in Minnesota. It was during those eight seconds that he was also looking at his phone, reading a text from his girlfriend, when tragedy struck.

Fifty-four-year-old Robert Bursik, a professor from Amery, Wisconsin, was sitting in his car at an intersection when the semi-truck came barreling into him. Bursik was killed in the crash, while Hicks survived.

Now, both Hicks and the family of Bursik are speaking out, to talk about distracted driving, and a death that could have been prevented.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has released a 10-minute video sharing those stories, called "Eight Seconds: One Fatal Distraction." Its message is quite clear.

Bursik was a husband and father of three children. His wife and daughter are featured in the film, as is Hicks.

In the video, Hicks says he deeply regrets those eight seconds, that determined life or death for an innocent person.

"I play that moment in my head multiple times a day. There wasn't anything I could do," he says."I was out of control, from the time I looked down at my phone, from the time I looked up."

Hicks pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in Bursik's death in April of 2019.

Watch the moving video here.

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