Shattered Dreams

Memorial High School Junior Javaun Butler, 17, was ‘killed’ as a result of drink

Over 1,500 students were able to witness the tragic consequences of drinking and driving on Tuesday, April 28, when Memorial High School in Port Arthur hosted a presentation from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s Shattered Dreams Program. The annual car-crash demonstration is meant to outline the dangers of drinking and driving, especially for teens.

Sheriff’s Deputy Rod Carroll said traffic collisions, many involving drugs and alcohol, are the leading cause of serious injuries and death of Texans between 15 and 19 years of age.

A mock collision that included two cars was staged in front of the high school to illustrate the potential consequences. The accident resulted in one fatality and three injuries, with one critically injured student having to be transported by Air-Rescue. The driver responsible was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated and intoxication manslaughter.

“It really shows the reality of the situation,” Carroll said. The students also watched a video in which parents are notified of the death of their child.

“That really drives it home,” Carroll said of the images of sobbing parents reacting in disbelief that their son or daughter is never coming back home.

Memorial High School principal Dr. Glenn Mitchell said the whole experience was very eye-opening, and he thinks students took away a very valuable lesson.

“I hear kids talking about it in the hallway and you can tell they have been impacted by the realties of drunk driving,” he said.

Mitchell said the school was asked to participate about three months ago, and drama students took three weeks to prepare for their roles in the presentation.

“I was moved by it,” Mitchell said. “It was absolutely breathtaking to see the expressions on the students’ faces. You could tell seeing their peers like that left an impact.”

Shattered Dreams is an educational experience in which JCSO has been teaming up with local high schools for 10 years to remind the public of the dangers associated with drinking and driving.

Students were shown not just the causalities of driving while impaired, but also the life changing consequences when one of the young drivers was placed under arrest and taken away in a patrol car.

“I asked that boy, who is a student athlete and college bound, what he thought when the police put him in handcuffs,” Mitchell said. “The young man replied, ‘I don’t ever want to feel them on me again.’”

The event usually takes place in the fall before homecoming events, or in the spring before prom and graduation to remind the community that too many young lives have already been lost and countless others negatively affected because of the tragic consequences of underage drinking, and drinking combined with driving.

Deputy Carroll says that Shattered Dreams is not about drinking and driving. “It’s about living and dying,” he said.

To view the student-made video depicting the events leading up to the fatal crash, and the aftermath of devastating results, visit www.youtube.com and keyword search “Memorial High School, Shattered Dreams.”

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