2013-05-20 / Local News

Students sign pledge

By SCOTT POWELL
Ledger Staff Writer


Gaffney High students celebrate after winning a free T-shirt in a “Perfection” shape placement game Friday during the 16th annual Prom Bash in the school’s football stadium. No local high school students have lost their lives on prom weekend since the first Prom Bash was organized in 1997. Gaffney High students celebrate after winning a free T-shirt in a “Perfection” shape placement game Friday during the 16th annual Prom Bash in the school’s football stadium. No local high school students have lost their lives on prom weekend since the first Prom Bash was organized in 1997. Gaffney High students ended their prom weekend with an accomplishment worth celebrating.

No local high school students have lost their lives in a drunk-driving crash in the 16 years since Gaffney High started its Prom Bash tradition in 1997. Students are treated to a fun day of food, games, social activities, and a chance to win door prizes in return for making a promise which saves lives.

More than 600 Gaffney High juniors and seniors signed pledge cards Friday morning to stay alcoholand drug-free. Students kept their promise over the weekend after taking to heart efforts by local law enforcement officers to educate students about the dangers of underage drinking and driving.

“This was an uneventful weekend,” Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. “We hope one of the messages shared by the speakers at this year’s Prom Bash hit close to home. We hope these students will choose to make responsible decisions for the rest of their lives.”

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year-olds both nationally and statewide. Teenagers are more likely to be involved in a car crash causing injury or death than any other group of licensed drivers.

Gaffney High students received a chilling reminder at Friday’s Prom Bash about how a wrong decision behind the wheel can permanently impact a family’s life.

If a driver had stayed sober, 19-year-old Amber Locklear said she would still have her father alive to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day in November. Instead, her 17- year-old brother J.D. will give Amber away at her wedding.

Christian Robinson, Amber’s father, was riding his motorcycle into work on Sept. 2, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. outside Summerville when he was struck headon by a driver in a sport utility vehicle. Robinson, 40, died from injuries suffered in the accident. The South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) charged the SUV driver with felony DUI.

During Friday’s program, Amber and J.D., spoke with Gaffney High students about how the accident instantly changed their lives.

“The last time I saw my daddy alive was at 6:30 a.m. I didn’t get to see him after the accident. His body was too mangled,” Locklear said. “I was a senior in high school when the accident happened. After almost two years, I still haven’t bounced back from losing my dad.”

The Locklears were brought to the Prom Bash through their participation in the South Carolina Highway Patrol’s Family Victims of Fatalities education program. Local law enforcement officers speaking at this year’s program included Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller, SCHP Lance Cpl. Billy Elder, and Fowler.

Elder urged students to make responsible decisions by staying alert and focused on the road instead of using cell phones, texting and driving, or choosing to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Elder said he hopes the Gaffney High students will choose to leave with happy memories from their high school years rather than remembering the tragic loss of a classmate.

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