Teenager Receives Nine Years Of Education On The Consequences Of Drinking And Driving - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/16/04 - East Texas

Teenager Receives Nine Years Of Education On The Consequences Of Drinking And Driving

by Chris Cato

Natalie White was just 16 at the time, driving at night. Her blood alcohol level was about two times the legal limit. She hit and killed Lauren Frazier, a fellow Pine Tree High School student who was out with her family.

Now, instead of graduation and college, Natalie is sentenced to spend the next nine years behind bars.

Members of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council see it all the time. Too many teens fail to understand the severe consequences drinking and driving can bring.

Donnie Nixon of ADAC said, "The laws are getting tighter on that, and they do not realize that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of the deaths among the youth 15 to 20 -- from 15 to 20 years old."

Young people who drink often start using alcohol early. Just how young they're starting might surprise you.

Nixon said, "By the time they are in the eighth grade, they report at least having one drink by that time they're in the eighth grade. And over 20% of them report having been intoxicated."

Hard numbers for any parent to swallow, but what's even harder is losing a child to a drunk driving accident.

Wayne Frazier, Lauren's father said, "The only reason that I do what I do is for those two girls, my wife, and those grandparents sitting there."

The parents of the teen killed in the accident say they hold no anger towards Natalie, but they agree with the decision to send her to jail.

Frazier said, "It is necessary that she take full responsibility, and that the consequences of her choices be carried out."

Natalie now has no choice but to face those consequences while also living with the memory of what happened that night after she decided to drink and drive.

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