“That is why I am mainly doing this, for those kind of reactions. It means a lot to me. Because I went in here, I didn’t want them to feel sorry for me, I wanted them to listen to me.”
Junior at Daniel Boone
By COLLIN BROOKS
David Crockett High School seniors got a chance to hear how drunk driving can affect someone their own age when Daniel Boone High School student Savannah Laws shared how her life was impacted by a drunk driver during a Prom Promise event in the little auditorium at David Crockett High School on Friday, April 22.
Laws, a junior, spoke to the students about how her mother was taken from her due to injuries suffered after being hit by a drunk driver. While her mother, Donna Lane was able to live through the crash, her life would never be the same. Lane was confined to a wheelchair after March 17, 1986 and she passed away on May 1, 2001, when Laws was just two years old.
“Today I am here to tell you about a tragedy that my family has endured, since St. Patrick’s Day 1986,” Laws told the seniors of David Crockett as she led into a video of her mother speaking.
The video showed Lane talking about the obstacles that she had to overcome during her life in a wheelchair. Lane lettered all four years at Daniel Boone in cross country and track for the Blazers and graduated in the class of 1985 from Daniel Bone.
“Then all of that came to a screeching halt when she left to work her graveyard shift. A drunk driver came barreling down Sulphur Springs Road on her side of the road,” Laws said after the video. “It was Saint Patrick’s night and he had been partying all night, having a blood alcohol limit three times the legal limit.
“The drunk driver hit her so hard that her body was almost crushed by the engine.”
Lane suffered numerous excruciating injuries, including a hangman’s fracture of her neck, which Laws said the doctors told her mother she shouldn’t have lived through.
“She died a month before I turned two years old, I never got to enjoy her company or savor the moments that I had with her,” Laws said. “I was the last one with her when she died, laying in my baby bed right beside her.
“Every time that I heard an ambulance, I would say ‘when is momma coming home?’ You could only imagine how heart broken my family really was.”
While Laws was able to keep dry eyes during her speech, a few sniffles from the crowd let her know that she had gotten her message across. She said that she also receives messages from people she has spoken to, which let her know she is helping.
“That is why I am mainly doing this, for those kind of reactions,” Laws said. “It means a lot to me. Because I went in here, I didn’t want them to feel sorry for me, I wanted them to listen to me.
Laws said that she feels a necessity to share her story, so that they know that getting behind the wheel impaired can be a costly decision.
“I kind of feel like it is a responsibility in a way, because I think that if you have the story like I do that it’s not something that you need to keep to yourself, you need to tell it and people need to hear it,” Laws said. “Because this is happening everyday. I am directing it toward prom mostly, but it’s mostly for any event.”
After her speech, she joined the rest of the seniors at David Crockett as area first responders put on a mock car crash so that students could get a better idea of what can happen when you drink and drive.
A few classmates dressed the part of car crash victims, sitting inside of the wrecked vehicles as emergency responders when through the routine that they know all too well.
“I want you to watch and see what happens here,” EMS Keith Ellis told the Crockett seniors before the emergency responders starting pouring in. “This isn’t just something that we put on, we see this on a daily basis. Unfortunately this is part of what our job is. And if we can prevent one person from being in one of these cars, that is why we are here.”
David Crockett senior Katie Verbal was in the crowd to watch the mock car crash and said that it really hit home for her.
“Seeing the demonstration just made it seem so much more real,” she said. “I think it will definitely make an impact and show people that they should think before they do something.”