9 Investigates: Charlotte teen remembered as hands free bill takes on his name

by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A Charlotte teen is being remembered years after the accident that took his life as tougher legislation will be introduced in his name to stop people from picking up their phone while driving.

In a 9 Investigation more than a year ago, Channel 9 reported on how tough it is for North Carolina troopers to enforce the state’s current texting while-driving ban.

Since then, lawmakers have proposed that the state go hands-free.

Channel 9 anchor Natalie Pasquarella talked to one Charlotte family who said it could’ve saved their son.

“Even thinking about it now it’s like how did this become our reality?” said Tammy Garlock.

Garlock and her husband John said five years after their son Brian’s death, it is still hard to comprehend he is no longer here.

“(It’s) awfully quiet. Our house is extremely quiet now. Brian had an energy and a lifeforce about him,” Tammy Garlock said.

His parents said Brian was a typical 17-year-old who loved golf and hanging out with friends.

IMAGES: Brian Garlock remembered as bill takes on his name

Tammy said Brian was, “energentic, always happy, fearless, full of energy. (He) had a girlfriend he always wanted to spend time with.”

On June 12, 2008, Brian was leaving his summer job in Pineville.

“As he attempted to turn left out of that neighborhood, he had also decided to make a phone call to his girlfriend and because of being distracted, he didn’t see two pickup trucks that were coming right at him,” Tammy Garlock said.

Briand died within hours.

“You wouldn’t think something so small and insignificant would have catastrophic consequences," she said speaking about Brian’s phone.

Now lawmakers will tell Brian’s story as they push to strengthen the state’s current law, which bans only texting while driving.

Sen. Jeff Tarte is working to change the law to go hands-free, so drivers can’t pick up their phone at all.

“It puts a real face on the legislation, which candidly makes it hopefully harder for anyone to be against the bill," Tarte said.
A year ago, Channel 9 first showed Tarte the difficulty troopers were having enforcing the texting ban.

Now he is introducing tougher legislation with a new name -- the Brian Garlock Bill.

“We're working with the DA's office locally. We're working with troopers. We're working with other legislators to make sure we have language that everybody's comfortable with," Tarte said.

The bill will be introduced in May.

Tammy Garlock said she will speak to anyone willing to listen.  She hands out bracelets as a reminder of how quickly life can change.

"If we just save one child, one family, one mom doesn't have to go through this, then Brian didn't lose his life in vain," she said.

Read all of our past coverage: