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Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Utah & Wyoming
Contact: Carole Walker, Executive Director
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Survivor and Family of Teen Drunk Driving Crash Announce Use of Vehicle to Carry Tragic Reminder to Teens: Make Safe Choices Behind the Wheel!
June 2, 2009 – A new memorial crashed car exhibit was presented during a morning news conference on the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol. Seth Mutschler, a survivor of the drunk driving crash announced the donation of his vehicle to the Colorado State Patrol, the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association and Klode Salvage for use as a statewide traveling educational display in the "Safe Choices" Program.
Seventeen-year old Samara Stricklen was killed on March 13, 2007 when she was a passenger in the car driven by Mutschler and they were struck by an SUV driven by a 17-year old girl. The newly licensed teen driver crossed four lanes of traffic and slammed head-on into Seth's Honda Accord. She was drunk, had smoked marijuana and broke teen driving laws for carrying teen passengers. The teen driver and her friend also lied to police about who was driving at the time of the crash. The teen was sentenced as an adult to 12 years in prison—the judge ordered her to be incarcerated in a youthful offender program.
The Safe Choices program has used donated cars from teen crashes for the past 15 years to carry a powerful message on the deadly consequences of unsafe choices such as, drinking and driving, carrying too many passengers, speeding, not wearing seatbelts and inexperience behind the wheel. The displays are towed statewide by Klode Salvage and have been viewed by thousands at schools and safety events. This display was also made possible by the generous funding donated by National Farmers Union Insurance Company.
"We have asked these survivors to make the most difficult choice possible in allowing the symbol of their tragedy to be put on display," said Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. "But turning their grief into hope has given generations of teens a better chance at surviving being a teenager."
"The Colorado State Patrol is committed to the Safe Choices Program as our #1 goal is to save lives and prevent crashes," said Col. James Wolfinbarger, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "It takes the reality of these cars and their stories to make young people realize that bad choices can have deadly consequences."
Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association is a non-profit consumer information organization. Affiliated with the Insurance Information Institute, RMIIA has been serving consumers and the media since 1952.