Photo by Shane Harms
Over 500 students listened to 4 speakers discuss the dangers of driving under the influence. Austin Seferian-Jenkins was the last speaker, and told the story of his DUI.

Speakers warn BHS students of DUI dangers

December 5, four speakers shared their experiences and warned of the dangers of driving under the influence. Over 500 students were in attendance at the Ballard High School auditorium, which only amounted to a around half of the entire enrollment.Four speakers shared their stories.

The first speaker was local mother, Kelly Jones, who told the tragic story of losing her son, Kellen, in a car accident that claimed the lives of two others, Spencer Millard and Mike Turner, in 2010. She showed intimate pictures and revealed the deep sense of loss that follows accidents.

Jone’s said that students have an obligation to friends and family members to drive and ride responsibly. She told students they could spread the word by tweeting #driveandrideresponsibly and also connecting to the campaign’s Facebook page.

The other three speakers shared the same incident, though from different perspectives. UW’s football tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, plead guilty to drunk driving earlier this year. He spoke to students and was joined by his attorney, Bill Kirk, and the arresting officer, SPD’s Eric Michl.

Michl told the students about the process of arresting and obtaining evidence from DUI suspects. He discussed breathalyzers and bloods tests and how students need to think about their actions.

“Early prevention is probably the best thing we can do to stop this from happening. We have to be mindful before we put the key in the ignition. …The first thing that leaves you when you’re drinking or using drugs is your judgment, its the very first thing that flies out the window,” said Michl.

Kirk spoke next, and he warned of the stringent legal implications of driving under the influence. He explained that the total monetary costs and jail time are implications that happen only if a suspect is "lucky" they are not killed.

“I am a DUI lawyer…and what I’m asking from all of you today is to put guys like me out of business and force us to make a career change, but the only way you do it is by making smarter decisions,” said Hicks.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, spoke last and told the story of his DUI incident and the shame he felt for letting so many people down.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it was going to make an impact. …This whole thing has opened my eyes and given me a bigger perspective,” said Seferian-Jenkins.

Seferian-Jenkins was arrested in the Ravenna area after being involved in a single car accident. He plead guilty to a drunk driving and was fined $695 and sentenced to 5 years probation. He registered a blood-alcohol level of .18 percent.

A graduate of Gig Harbor High School, Seferian-Jenkins is 6-foot-6 and holds many records for tight end at UW. He has been projected to be future first-round NFL Draft pick.

“This is in opportunity for me to educate students and hopefully help them understand that it’s not okay to drive under the influence. … If I can prevent one student from doing it then it's worth it,” said Seferian-Jenkins.

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