UNION CITY, Ohio — Mississinawa Valley seventh-grader Josie Deaton asked to speak to the student body during the Students Against Destructive Decisions’ (SADD’s) mock crash this past Thursday, and she was given the go-ahead by school administrators.
The 13-year-old wrote it in one week, and it was edited by Tricia Seubert, her language arts teacher.
Josie, daughter of Tina and Joe Deaton, both of Union City, Ohio, wanted students and staff to know what it is like to lose a family member due to destructive decisions.
An enlarged portrait of Josie and her older sister, Christin, were on display as was a photo from the vehicle accident that claimed her sister’s life. It was the first fatality of the year in 2014.
The accident occurred Jan. 22, 2014, at approximately 1:19 p.m. Reports from the Ohio State Highway Patrol indicated that a 1995 Suzuki Sidekick compact car was being driven by a 27-year-old man, southbound on Oswalt-Good Road, when the vehicle allegedly went off the right side of the roadway, striking a guardrail end that was on a bridge.
Here is what Josie wrote for her presentation:
“Have you ever lost a loved one? Did you lose them to drugs or alcohol? Did you lose them to a car accident? In my personal experience, I lost a loved one. It caused grief and a loved one’s death can cause profuse side effects.
“Three years ago on Jan. 22, 2014, at 1:20 p.m., my sister was 25 years old and on her way home from a friend’s junkyard. The driver, her boyfriend, was 28 years old and was under the influence of several narcotics, including methadone, heroin and pot [marijuana]. While driving, her boyfriend looked over to see what my sister was doing, but it was too late. The car ran head-on into the guardrail. The guardrail came up through the passenger-side window and went through her head, which killed her. The driver, her boyfriend, survived the whole accident, but later was prosecuted to six years in prison. He was charged for aggravated vehicular homicide of the first degree.
“After my sister’s death, my family’s hearts were broken. For me, it felt like I lost another mom. You may be wondering what I mean by losing another mom, I say this because my sister took care of me like I was her daughter. For example, she used to pick out my outfits as a little kid. She also did my hair and makeup for my dance recitals, even though she didn’t have to. It also felt like I lost a best friend. She was always there for me when I needed someone to talk to. For about a week, none of my family members could talk to each other without crying. Being at the funeral was by far the most grueling event in my life. I hated looking at all of her photos and memories. At one point and time, I got up to try to tell a story, but I burst out in tears.
”What made her death even harder was that I was only 10 years old when she died. After the funeral, I asked to have some time alone with my sister one last time. I reached into the coffin and grabbed my sister’s hand. I started to cry. I told her. ‘I miss you so much, Sissy. I’m sorry this happened to you. Can you tell Grandpa Rocky and Tim I said ‘Hi’? I love you, Sissy. Please watch over me.’ I looked at her for a while then I got onto my tiptoes and wrapped my small weak arms around her neck and squeezed.
“All we wanted was to see her one last time. All of us missed her so much, especially her daughter. My sister left behind a very important piece, her daughter. Her daughter was only 4 years old when my sister died. The car accident left my family and I sodden in stress and depression. Furthermore, my family and I were outraged with anger. To explain, when I went to school it was hard to know that when I go home I would not get to see my sister again. I was very quiet in school. I never talked to anyone.
“I understand that everyone says ‘Don’t do drugs.’ You are probably thinking ‘how bad can they be?’ Well, if you do drugs, you may overdose. You may die. Drugs don’t only affect you; they affect your family. To explain, if you die, your family will miss you and they would want you back. This is exactly how my family feels about my sister being gone.
“Our family will feel grief-stricken, just as my family did when my sister died. If you do drugs or drink while driving, you may overdose or get into a car accident and die. If you die while you’re young, you won’t have a chance to start a family, have kids or event get married. Even if you may not want a family or a spouse, you may just want a very successful life. Although, if you drive while being intoxicated, none of that may ever happen.
“Now, since prom is in a couple of days, this program is to demonstrate to you what could happen if you make destructive decisions. First, let’s create a situation. Everyone close your eyes and listen. You’re in the passenger side of your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s or your friend’s car. Your friends are in the back seat. Now let’s say your boyfriend or girlfriend is drunk or high like my sister’s boyfriend. You’re all laughing and having fun. Then, all of a sudden, the car starts to go faster; the dash says you’re going 70 miles per hour. You start to yell, ‘What are you doing, you’re going to get us killed. You see a stop light turn red, but the driver isn’t slowing down. Then it happened; all you hear is the screeching of tires and the crash of metal.
“‘Help me please,’ one of your friends starts to yell. You look up and see your friend on the road bleeding from her head and her chest. Next, you look down and you see that there’s a big piece of metal sticking out of your leg. You look in the car mirror and see that there’s a bunch of shattered glass sticking out of your face. Next, everything starts to go black and that’s it; it’s over. To prevent all of this pain you can choose a better way. If your driver is under the influence of something GET OUT OF THE CAR; CALL SOMEONE TO HELP. Choose the right thing!
“Even though you get into a car accident but you survive, you can kill an innocent victim. Then it will be your fault that person died just like my sister’s boyfriend. Speaking of her boyfriend, today, he is still in prison and won’t be out for some time.
“In conclusion, don’t do drugs or drink and drive. You can cause many consequences. I don’t want you to be like me, to lose a loved one. Many of us having siblings. I also understand we find them annoying. Take it from me, as the saying goes, ‘You never know what you have until it’s gone.’ I love you Christin Marie Deaton, Please watch over me. Help me through my hardships. Everyone, please be safe.
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