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Students Hear a Sobering MessageSubmitted: 04/25/2013
Story By Lex Gray


THREE LAKES - Every spring, parents send high schoolers into the adult world with some final celebrations like prom and graduation.

But Three Lakes wants to make sure its students make it past those celebrations.

That's why the school invited drunk driving offenders and victims to speak to the students today.

Jeannine Thiel's blood alcohol level was over three times the legal limit when she crashed her car head-on into another car.

"I basically had one thing that was not broken," Thiel said. "I had a broken neck, broken back, broken pelvis. Both legs were broken, lacerated liver."

Jeannine survived - but not everyone involved did.

"The other man did die. He was 27," Thiel said. "He was from West Africa, so my alcoholism has reached its way halfway around the world."

Jeannine wants to make sure people right here in the Northwoods learn from her mistake.

She spoke to Three Lakes students Thursday, just days before prom. She wants them to remember one thing:

"It can happen to them."

Deb Jastrow knows that all too well. A drunk driver killed her 21-year-old stepdaughter.

"In the beginning, there was a lot of anger, a lot of frustration," Jastrow said.

Jastrow has spent the last two years doing exactly what Jeannine is doing - helping others avoid the consequences of drunk driving.

"Think before you drink," Jastrow said. "I don't care if you're 18 years old or 80 years old. Think before you drink."

A reminder these students and everyone could use.

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