It’s naive to believe drinking doesn’t happen in college. It’s common to attend parties — fraternity or sorority, birthday or otherwise. But when drunk driving comes into play, the night only ends in tragedy.
Alcohol-related driving statistics show drunk drivers cause 30 percent of vehicle accidents. In 2014, those who participated in drinking and driving killed almost 10,000 people.These three college parties are no different. They ended in drunk driving deaths that devastated families, friends, and acquaintances. Their actions changed lives forever.
Celebration Turned Awry
Shannise Heady had helped her basketball team win the first game in three years. One of her teammates was celebrating a birthday. Everyone wanted to celebrate the night. The Eastern Michigan University student and her friend, Jordan Hopkins, joined in.
They arrived at the party at 11 p.m., each girl with her drink of choice. They both danced, laughed and drank, not violating university policy — neither was too rowdy. At 12:45 a.m., Heady, and Hopkins told friends they were leaving and would be right back.
Ten minutes later, a dispatcher called the police to a crash site. Heady’s car, going 77 miles per hour, had crashed into another car. Police pronounced both Heady and Hopkins dead at the scene. Neither were wearing a seatbelt.
Bradley Baker drove the Heady car hit. He survived with injuries to his spine and ribs that left him in pain for several days.
“No words can describe the feelings right now as we are truly devastated to learn of her passing,” Heady’s basketball coach said. “Shannise was not only an inspiration to all of us, but she brought energy and liveliness to our team. She was a true joy to coach and has left an everlasting impression not only on me but the rest of our team as well. She will be missed greatly.”
My Best Friend’s Drunk Driving Death
In 2009, Jessica Rasdall addressed a group of high school students filling a football stadium.
“My name is Jessica Rasdall, and on Feb. 25, 2006, I killed my best friend.”
Rasdall and her best friend, Laura Ann Gorman, had finished their shift at Hooters. The two headed back to their dorm at Eckerd College, then decided to go dancing with friends at a local club.
At the club, 40 minutes away from their beds, the girls began to dance. When a man ushered them to the bar, offering to buy shots for them, they said yes. Both were under the age of 21 but obliged. The night continued, and at 3 a.m., the girls headed home.
One mile from the college, Rasdall’s car went off the road and hit a tree. The next thing Rasdall remembers was waking up not knowing what had happened that night. She shook her friend’s arm but knew she was dead.
Rasdall and Gorman had been best friends since Kindergarten. Now neither family spoke to each other.
“They had told us not to come to the funeral,” Rasdall said. “I’ve sent cards, letters, flowers, saying how sorry I am. But they’re not ready.”
The Gorman’s claimed Rasdall spoke at events to win leniency in the courtroom. Rasdall wished she could switch places with her best friend.
The Last Campus Visit
Joseph Castano was hoping to transfer to a different college from the University of Vermont. He had planned to stay with friends while visiting colleges around New England. Endicott College was on the list, and his friend Caleb Sampson happened to be a sophomore there.
Sampson heard of a party happening on campus and thought it would be a fun night for him and his friend. The two arrived at the party and had several drinks before Castano got involved in a fight. He stormed out of the party, and Sampson followed him, knowing he was too drunk to go anywhere alone.
Both intoxicated, Castano got behind the wheel and Sampson, not wanting him to drive alone, got in the passenger seat. Castano was returning to campus when he missed a tight curve and hit a utility pole. The impact killed Sampson instantly.
Castano suffered a broken back and collarbone, and while Sampson’s family wished to donate his organs, they could not because of the injuries.
“I knew I had to walk into a hospital room and identify my first-born son,” said Samantha Nalette, Sampson’s mother. “That is something a mother and a father should never have to do.”
Each of these stories started as a harmless night out and end in tragedy. If drunk driving has affected you or a loved one like it has the people in these stories, take the time to reach out to legal counsel who can help. Contact Rory Munns for DUI help today.