Crash victim shares story with Jamestown studentsPeople show their true personalities when they drive, and all drivers should focus more on being respectful than on being cool. That was Tyler Presnell’s message when he spoke to Jamestown High School students Thursday, though he emphasized the same truths held for adults, too.
By: By Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
People show their true personalities when they drive, and all drivers should focus more on being respectful than on being cool.
That was Tyler Presnell’s message when he spoke to Jamestown High School students Thursday, though he emphasized the same truths held for adults, too.
“Respect the journey,” Presnell said. “The journey is all of life.”
Presnell’s presentation was sponsored by the North Dakota Department of Transportation. According to NDDOT, teens are less than 7 percent of all licensed drivers, but are involved in more than 20 percent of crashes and nearly 15 percent of fatalities.
When he was 14 years old and a freshman in high school, Presnell was involved in a car crash that damaged multiple parts of his body, leaving him with a right leg paralyzed below the knee, metal rods in both legs, 17 feet of surgical scars and a traumatic brain injury.
Because of the trauma to his brain, Presnell has significant memory loss. He doesn’t remember his life before the crash. On any given day, he can’t remember the events of the previous day. He can’t even remember what he had for breakfast.
Even while speaking to the students in Jamestown, Presnell double-checked to make sure that he wasn’t repeating himself, enlisting the crowd to tell him if he had already gone over material once.
The accident that permanently disrupted Presnell’s capacity to remember occurred on Thanksgiving in 1999, when he got a ride from a close family friend.
The friend had just gotten his driver’s license. And in an attempt to be viewed as fun and cool, he drove up and down a road nicknamed “the roller coaster hills” at 70 mph, before he lost control of the vehicle and hit a telephone pole.
Also in an effort to seem cool, Presnell hadn’t been wearing a seat belt.
“Because we don’t experience crashes like this, we’re not taught about this. We don’t see it accurately,” Presnell told the Jamestown students. “No one talks about it. The only time a crash is on the news is when it affects traffic.”
He emphasized that driving crazy isn’t hard — it’s actually easy, and people who do it shouldn’t be glorified for it, because they’re actually being inconsiderate to everyone around them.
And nobody even notices or cares whether you wear a seat belt, Presnell said.
“It’s time for us to be fully, 100 percent real. Be caring. Be patient. Be kind,” Presnell said.
For more information, visit tylerpresnell.org.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be
reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at email@example.com