SADD puts bad decisions on trial

Blue Ridge SADD re-enacted a teen’s DUI homicide trial as part of the group’s pre-prom message about the ramifications of driving drunk. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Blue Ridge SADD re-enacted a teen’s DUI homicide trial as part of the group’s pre-prom message about the ramifications of driving drunk. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

BY STACI WILSON

With a script taken directly out of a Susquehanna County trial, Blue Ridge SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) presented the sobering aftermath of DUI death.

Blue Ridge students and teachers re-enacted portions of the Jessie Walton homicide by motor vehicle while driving under the influence trial from

2007.

Walton was 18 years old when he crashed his vehicle on Oswald Johnson Rd., in Lenox Twp., killing passenger Victoria Webster, age 17.

Walton was convicted by a jury and sentenced to serve three to eight years in state prison.

Through the trial, students learned from expert testimony about the effects of alcohol.

Images of Victoria Webster, killed by a drunk driver in 2006 in Lenox Twp., flashed on the screen behind her sister, Danielle, who spoke to Blue Ridge students at a pre-prom SADD assembly. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Images of Victoria Webster, killed by a drunk driver in 2006 in Lenox Twp., flashed on the screen behind her sister, Danielle, who spoke to Blue Ridge students at a pre-prom SADD assembly. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

But the real effects of DUI were driven home by Victoria Webster’s sister, Danielle.

In front of a slide show featuring pictures of her sister, Danielle Webster told the students, “Not a moment passes that I don’t think of (Victoria).”

She talked of the events her sister never experienced, including her senior prom. Two of Victoria’s friends left their corsages at a cross erected in her memory on prom night, Danielle said.

“There is no way to bring back any loved one back,” she said. “It doesn’t effect just one person, it changes the lives of many.”

District Attorney Jason Legg, who helped facilitate the SADD presentation, applauded Danielle for her courage to speak to the Blue Ridge students.

“She doesn’t want to see any family have to go through what hers has,” he said.

“What happened this night with Jesse Walton happens in a lot of teenagers’ lives,” Legg said. It’s not having fun, the district attorney continued, “It’s a series of destructive decisions.”

Legg said the death of Victoria Webster in 2006 was just one in a string of DUI deaths that culminated in March 2007 with the death of five-year-old Megan Thomas in a crash near the South New Milford Baptist Church.

“There were four pending DUI homicides at one point,” Legg said.

Principal Matthew Nebzydoski said, “We’ve covered what not to do. Each and every one of you is loved and cared for.”