WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – As we head into prom and graduation seasons, there’s a strong push to stop teenagers from drinking and driving.
One local teen is sharing her story of a drunk driving crash, hoping to save lives.
A mangled car sits outside Westwood Regional High School in hopes of warning students not to drink and drive. Inside the school, 15-year-old Julia Stuart from Mahwah is speaking to seniors.
“All of a sudden, I fell to the ground and I started screaming in pain,” she said. “I realized that I got pinned between the two cars and my legs got crushed.”
Two years ago, at just 13-years-old, her friend’s drunk father accidentally hit her with his car in the driveway, pinning her against another car.
“My friend’s dad hit me, 30 miles per hour, and he was over twice the legal limit,” she said.
She underwent surgeries and had to learn to walk again. Stuart is now the youngest advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving in New Jersey.
” I want kids my age or even a little older to know. And me sharing my message with them helps me a lot,” she said.
Also speaking Friday was lawyer Steven Benvenisti, who was nearly killed by a drunk driver 25 years ago during spring break. He’s been sharing his story with students for decades, but says Stuart’s story will reach teenagers and adults may not.
“Julia is the only teen I’ve ever known who’s able to share her story with others because she wants to make sure what happened to her doesn’t happen to others,” he said.
During the presentation, the students are given a “contract for life,” agreeing if they’re ever drinking they will not drive. It’s to be signed by the teenager and a parent.
To remind students of their agreement they were given key chains saying “I pledge.”
“I’m going off to prom weekend and I think it’s a very great time to tell us,” said senior Killian Gilroy. “It sticks with us, because we’re leaving now and we won’t be back until Tuesday. It’ll just race through my head.”
Students told Hsu hearing from one of their own really hit home.