The Maria Tiberi Foundation is continuing its annual effort to raise money and awareness about driving safety with a second-annual event at the Columbus Italian Festival.
Maria’s Miles Three-Mile Run/Walk, benefitting the Maria Tiberi Foundation to combat distracted driving, will be held Oct. 11 at 10 a.m. The run will begin and end on the corner of North Fourth Street and East Lincoln Street.
Maria Tiberi, the daughter of WBNS-10TV sports anchor Dom Tiberi, was an Ohio State student before she died in a 2013 car accident attributed to distracted driving.
Dom and his wife, Terri, started the foundation to fundraise for driving simulators. Each costs about $14,000, Dom Tiberi said, and they have bought 23 simulators so far, one of them being donated to OSU.
“My favorite part is partnering with the festival with all the great food and fun times,” Dom said. “I love seeing the participants remember and celebrate my daughter’s life, as well as all those that have lost their lives on our highways.”
Dom said that since his daughter’s death, he has dedicated his life to spreading the message to families about the dangers of distracted driving, hoping to save young people’s lives.
“We need to fight this epidemic called distracted driving, as it is taking our youngest and brightest,” Dom said. “It is the No. 1 killer of the age group 9–24, and we must come together to end this.”
Kelsey Tiberi, a 2015 graduate in English language and literature, said the race allows for her to see how much of an impact her younger sister’s life had on others.
“My family gets an overwhelming amount of love and support from so many people in the community,” Kelsey said. “We want everyone to live long and happy lives, so with our efforts we hope to help others to see how deadly the consequences of distracted driving are.”
Brynn Schlemitz, a second-year in business, said that she is participating in the run with her sister and mother because it is for an important cause.
“The world keeps getting more dangerous with all the technology and distractions people have while driving,” Schlemitz said. “One second of distracted driving can change a family forever, and my family is more than willing to participate and donate to this cause.”
Admission to join the event is $45, and each participant will receive a shirt, post-race food and beverages and entrance into the Columbus Italian Festival.