Online Originals: Local mother fights back against distracted driving with litter clean-ups

Crystal Coast

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) — A local mother is fighting back against distracted driving along our Crystal Coast with litter clean-ups. 

“When you’re driving on the road. It’s not all about you, you need to be looking everywhere,” said Leigh Mingus. 

Mingus adopted the road along NC Highway 24 from Cannonsgate to Bogue Sound Elementary School to honor her daughter’s memory. Her daughter, McKinsey Pleasants, was killed in 2016 in an accident involving a distracted driver. Now, over five years later, Mingus cleans up litter along the highway she adopted in honor of her memory. 

“I know it’s not fun to get out on the sides of the roads and pick up trash. But there is a lot of trash on Highway 24 and any and all help that we can get. We sincerely appreciate it,” said Mingus. 

Saturday, they’re having another litter clean-up. She said when she does these events, she tells everyone she can about McKinsey’s story. 

“You know anybody that we can tell the story about McKinsey to about distracted driving is. you know, hopefully one more life we might save,” said Mingus. 

Dee Smith, the coordinator for Carteret Big Sweep, says that it’s important to get the community together to tackle the issue of litter.  

“The more people that are aware of the litter issue and get involved, the better off and the cleaner our county will be,” said Smith. 

Mingus does these litter clean-ups once a quarter. She says the next one is in November. 

She says if you’re interested in helping out Saturday, meet at the Bogue Sound Elementary School parking lot at 10 a.m. 

“We really appreciate all the help we can get,” said Mingus. 

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