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'Not something we want to see again'

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Nov 10/06) - Youth involved in a drinking and driving accident a few weeks ago were recently at Samuel Hearne to talk to students about the dangers of driving under the influence.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Marcel Stringer shows a wound that he got in a car accident two weeks ago. - Dez Loreen/NNSL photo

Marcel Stringer was one of three youth in a truck that rolled on Airport road in the early hours of Oct. 21.

The long box diesel truck was driven by another youth, who was hospitalized in Edmonton after the accident.

Another youth was also hospitalized here in town. The two are now out of the hospital.

The accident happened after the three were drinking at a gravel pit near Airport Lake.

Stringer said he visited the school to inform the students of the dangers of driving while drunk.

"These things can be prevented," Stringer told a class of Grade 10 students.

"No one should go through what I went through since the accident."

Stringer's had a gash on his hip,where the door frame tore into his side and a large scrape on the side of his face, from the impact of smashing the passenger side window.

He said the memories of the experience will remain with him forever.

"This will haunt me for the rest of my life," he said.

When asked to tell students what he remembered from the accident, all Stringer could recall was leaving the site of the party and waking up next to his father in hospital.

Stringer was joined by Chayne Rogers, who was one of the first people on the scene.

Rogers also made a presentation to the class, speaking of what he saw that night.

On the drive back into town, when Rogers said he saw the truck start swerving on the highway.

"They slid left, then right. All of a sudden they were in the air and disappeared into the darkness," said Rogers.

Once he had stopped his car, Rogers went down the embankment where his friends had rolled over in the truck.

"It was hard to see, but we were able to pull the driver from the vehicle," said Rogers, who was joined by another friend that night.

Found in the bush

Rogers said he remembered finding Stringer in the bush, attempting to walk from where he was thrown during the crash.

One of the youth called the police. Officers and protective services arrived shortly afterwards.

Noella Cockney of the Inuvik RCMP was one of the four officers on the scene first.

"One of the youth was thrown over 40 feet from the truck," said Cockney.

Julie Miller is the deputy fire chief in Inuvik.

She was not on the site for the accident, but joined the students and officer in the presentations at the school.

"I am totally amazed that anyone survived this accident," said Miller to the group of high schoolers.

"By rights of this incident, not a single person should have survived that."

Miller said too often youth are making bad choices when it comes to alcohol.

"It may have seemed like a good idea for that youth to drive that night, but it wasn't."

Miller also spoke to the students about other options to drinking and driving.

"Call a friend, or designate a driver," she said.

"These are fully preventable incidents."

One of the mistakes made by the youth who were first on the scene was that they moved the person who was trapped in the vehicle.

Miller said that a person in an accident should only be moved if necessary.

"The truck involved was a diesel, it would not have ignited," she said.

"Only move someone from a vehicle if you see smoke, or pouring gasoline."