By Ron Matz

HARFORD CO., (WJZ) — Heather Hurd was just 26 years old when she was killed by a distracted driver.

The accident happened near Orlando, Fl. in January of 2008. She was working at her dream job at Disney World when she died. She was driving to meet her parents and a wedding planner at Disney World when the accident occurred.

“The officer at the scene told us Heather was killed instantly,” said Kim Hurd, Heather’s mother. “So we went literally from planning a wedding to planning her funeral. To know her was to love her, she was a well-rounded and kind person.”

The Hurds had to give the heartbreaking news to their son, who was with them.

“And I remember looking in the rear view mirror at my son — at the time he was 18 years old — and I looked in the back and he had his hands covering his eyes. And that haunts me to this day, that he knew at that time our lives had changed,” Heather’s father, Russell Hurd, said.

“We tried to make sense out of it. What could have happened? And Officer Britt told us unfortunately the driver was texting his company and never looked up. He never applied his brakes. Nine cars were stopped at the traffic signal. Heather was three minutes from home,” said Kim Hurd.

The Hurds became involved in getting legislation passed in Maryland and other states to stop distracted driving.

“Russell went down to Annapolis and testified,” Kim said. “We tried doing our part. We just knew we did not want another family to feel what we felt.”

Saturday is the 10th annual Heather Hurd 5K at Harford Community College, which is where Heather went to school. Over the first nine years, it has raised $200,000 in scholarship money. It’s an event that continues to grow.

“The very first one, we had about 125 people and five sponsors,” Russell said. “This year, we’re hoping for 500 people and we have 62 sponsors.”

The walk and run in Heather’s memory begins Saturday, Oct. 27, at 9 a.m.

“I hope when people think of her that they will remember the love of life more so than how she died, but to remember that it can happen to anyone. Put the phone down, all those messages, all those phone calls are not that important. It can wait,” Russell Hurd added.

Click here for more information about the Heather Hurd 5K.

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