Students from Milbank, Grant-Deuel, Wilmot, Summit, Ortonville, and Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley schools heard a loud message April 21 – Think and drive; stay alive!
April is National Distracted Driver Awareness month and also the onset of a dangerous driving time for teenagers. “Many young people have been seriously injured or died because of texting, alcohol, and drugs,” explained MHS principal Dan Snaza.
Terry and Cleo Sorenson spoke to the students about the loss of their only child. Their son, Philip, died on July 25, 2012, the victim of a texting and driving accident. Philip was riding his motorcycle when he was hit by a vehicle driven by someone who was texting. Terry and Cleo said they are not professional speakers, just heartbroken parents who have made it their mission to make something good come out of their tragedy. “We want to share our story so others can understand the impact of one poor decision,” they said. “We lost our son.”
Chris Olson also told his story. He became a quadriplegic on April 13, 2001, as a result of a drunk-driving crash. He was thrown from a vehicle driven by his fiancee’s brother. After being resuscitated, he was airlifted to Sioux Falls where he remained for six weeks. Four and a half months later, Chris was finally able to go home and currently resides with his parents in Madison. He is dependent upon his mother for the care he receives. His fiancee, Tana Thompson, died at the scene.
In support of National Distracted Driver Awareness month, students ages 14-19 are eligible to win prizes awarded by the South Dakota Broadcasters Association. Any student who watches three videos online and correctly answers the follow-up safety questions will be entered into a cash prize drawing. The top prize is $10,000. Two winners will receive $2,500 and five will be given $1,000. To enter, go to www.lessonlearnedsd.com.