He Took a Life at Age Twenty-Three

Lexi Sielaw, Staff Writer

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 In honor of Red Ribbon Week, a reminder to be safe this holiday season. 

Once people reach the legal drinking age, they are more vulnerable to kill themselves or others behind the wheel.

A video on Youtube, “Drinking & Driving – Nathan Harmon’s Story” shares  Nathan’s story.  At 23, he was responsible for taking a life while drunk driving.  Now Nathan is 10 years sober and speaks to over 200+ schools about his experience and his life changing story. 

On July 17, 2009 he and his friends decided to go to the bar.

Nathan wasn’t legally allowed to even go to the bar because three months prior to this night he got a DUI. From his DUI he was on probation and had a revoked license. Nathan told his friends he would “absolutely not” be driving home or be the designated driver. 

A girl named Priscilla showed up to give Nathan a ride home. By the time Priscilla and Nathan walked out to the car, he didn’t know how but she gave him the keys to drive.  In the video, he said, “I remember the atmosphere. I remember what was being said, I remember everything every part of it.”  

What he remembers most vividly is Priscilla’s final words to him, “Tree!” After the crash when the paramedics showed up there was only one person in the vehicle who was Nathan. When he hit the tree he was driving around 60-62 mph while flying into complete impact no brakes, he didn’t even try to stop. Priscilla, who didn’t have her seatbelt on, catapulted forward and hit the windshield with the pack of beers and she fell to the floor of the car. 

Nobody would tell Nathan if Priscilla was dead or alive so he waited for the paper to arrive the next morning. He read the headline “Crash Victim Dies.”  At the age of 23, Nathan Harmon was responsible for taking a girl’s life, all from making one bad choice. 

Priscilla’s family asked Nathan to reach out to them whenever he could and so he did, when he called her family all he could say was sorry. Sorry for what he did, he could never give them their daughter back. Priscilla’s family told Nathan they forgive him and all they wanted Nathan to do was make the world a better place and “ Don’t let Priscilla die for nothing, make a difference.” July 17th forever changed Nathan’s life and was a wakeup call for him. 

Speaking to our SRO Officer Kirwin, he shared an experience when he was with the fire department. He was called to a drinking and driving crash site and the most frustrating thing for him was that the driver didn’t think he did anything wrong. 

“Drinking and driving has severe consequences and impacts.  It could hurt someone in your own family and it’s not just about being arrested,” Officer Kirwin said.

Drug and Alcohol abuse counselor Elise Imbert, who works at Seafield, pointed out that most people she counsels thought they were perfectly capable of driving, even when drunk.  It is important to have a ride figured out so you aren’t making decisions when drunk.

Drinking and driving, if it doesn’t end with death, will lead to huge problems in your life.  Imbert said, “You’ll be left with exorbitant financial and legal consequences combined with extreme guilt and remorse.”