Families warn high school students about dangers of drunken, distracted driving
Families of victims killed work to prevent wrong-way wrecks
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – Two families torn apart after deadly wrong-way crashes came together Monday to show students at Monarch High School the consequences of drunken or distracted driving.
Four years after his daughter, Marisa Catronio, was killed in a head-on crash by a wrong-way driver on the Sawgrass Expressway, Gary Catronio visits local high schools in an effort to crackdown on drunk and distracted driving.
"As long as I can breathe, walk and talk, I'm going to be out there presenting my message -- my program -- with facts and information to carry with you for the rest of your life," Catronio said.
Marisa's Way was founded the day after the Nov. 17, 2013, crash and the presentations began shortly after.
Catronio brought a special guest with him Monday to the Coconut Creek school.
"We are damaged from the situation, and we are working hard for Bryan's recovery," Noel Criales, whose daughter was killed in a wrong-way crash, said.
Bryan Criales and his father were up on stage at the presentation, showing students what the consequences of driving impaired can be.
Bryan Criales is still in rehab and can't walk or talk 15 months after he, his sister and his mom were hit head-on by Franklin Chavez, 22, on Interstate 95 in Miami.
His sister didn't survive the Dec. 13, 2015, crash.
Marisa Catronio and her friend, Kaitlyn Ferrante, didn't survive, either, after Kayla Mendoza, 20, plowed into them not long after tweeting "2 drunk 2 care."
Starting with young drivers, the families are working to make sure no other South Florida family goes through what they have.
"It's really not worth it, and what all those families went through ... because, you know, you made that one bad decision," one student, Fivele Oliveira, said.
Both families agree that if they can change the mindset of one student, or have one student think twice about getting behind the wheel impaired, they've accomplished something.
Click here if you wish to donate to Bryan Criales' medical fund.
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