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Event in Appleton focuses on perils of drinking and driving for teenagers

APPLETON, Wis. - With prom season in full swing and graduation around the corner, a group of speakers who call themselves the "Voices for Better Choices" are telling teens in Northeast Wisconsin why it's dangerous to drink and drive. 

It's a simple decision not to get in a car, but hte wrong choice can be easier to make for teens who are under the influence. 

"If they do find themselves in that situation, and they have consumed alcohol, that's perhaps a bad decision, but it usually gets worse then because a second bad decision or a third bad decision gets compounded in there," Neenah police chief Kevin Wilkinson said.

The realities of drinking and driving are highlighted in a documentary called "Only 16: The Tragedy of 2 Billys" that was shown at the event held in Appleton on Tuesday night. 

It tells the story of two Wisconsin teens, both named Billy, who died in separate drunk driving crashes.

"With my brother's accident, the person driving made a decision to drink and get drunk," Charlene Rose, whose brother Billy is featured in the documentary, said. "He got my brother drunk but my brother wasn't driving. He got in the car, he drove, and he drove too fast. That was a poor choice, and it was one he made while he was intoxicated, which my brother lost his life."

Her husband, Steve Rose, also lost someone he knew to drunk driving, the other Billy featured in the documentary. 

"That funeral was one of the hardest things we ever had to go through. Billy was just a sweet, sweet, guy and he died too early and too young," Steve Rose said.

In today's world where smartphones can get you a ride in seconds from apps like Uber and Lyft, it's easier than ever to get home safely.

Former Packers player Chester Marcol says it's also important for parents to let their teens know that they will come pick them up if they can't drive home. 

"I'd rather have parents go pick up their kids if something happens, rather than going to the morgue to identify  the body," Marcol said.

AAA was at the event and promoted free, confidential towing services for both members and non-members during the prom and graduation season. Teens can contact 1-800-AAA-HELP to get their car towed home for free by choosing not to drink and drive.

"Voices for Better Choices" will also be holding events, one at the Holiday Inn in Fond du Lac on April 17th, and the other at the Holiday Inn in Green Bay on April 24th.

 

 


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