“I do not want anyone to ever make the same decision I made. Never.”
Hall County middle school students are hearing that message this week from Chris Sandy, who is speaking about the consequences of his decisions to drink and drive.
When he was 22, Sandy got behind the wheel after consuming four alcoholic beverages. He crashed into the side of a second vehicle, killing one victim at the scene. The driver of the vehicle died shortly afterward.
Sandy said his blood alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit at the time of the accident.
After pleading guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide by DUI, Sandy spent more than eight years in prison. He was released on parole in 2009; he now shares his story with various schools and groups under the presentation title “Enduring Regret.”
The presentation coincides with the schools’ Red Ribbon Week, a national campaign promoting drug abuse prevention. Several schools observed it last week, while others have activities lined up through Friday.
Sandy was sharing his story with North Hall Middle, Da Vinci Academy and World Language Academy students on Wednesday.
“We felt it was important for our eighth-graders because drunk driving amongst teenagers is very prevalent,” said Cindy White, the academy coordinator for Da Vinci Academy at South Hall Middle School. “We believe in early intervention.”
Presenting alongside Sandy on Wednesday was his brother-in-law, Eric Krug. Krug was a victim in a separate drunken driving incident prior to Sandy’s wreck.
Krug has difficulty moving, and can barely speak. He communicates via an iPad app that translates what he types.
“Simple things like talking and walking are now a struggle every day of my life,” Krug said via the app. “I have lifelong injuries because I got into the car with a drunk driver.
“Suffering a traumatic brain injury has ruined all of my dreams, like playing professional baseball or completing my college degree,” he added. “Now, this is my never-ending nightmare which began on my 21st birthday.”
Sandy is speaking at Chestatee Academy of Inquiry and Talent Development and East Hall Middle School today. He will visit West Hall Middle School in a couple of weeks.
“This is all about choices; it’s also about making decisions in life,” Sandy said to the students. “Really, please, think about your choices. They’re really important. You have no idea what your consequences can be.”