Preventing tragedies through choices

He was at North Peace Secondary School this morning, telling his story to a group of students.

All teenagers, he and his friends had been partying in a nearby town the night of April 24, and kept the party going on the way home. They had a sober driver, but Westhaver says they weren’t thinking about the commotion they were causing by drinking and playing loud music.

“We didn’t think about what a distraction we were,” he told the group. “We were invincible; nothing could go wrong.”

But it did. The next thing he remembered was waking up in hospital in searing pain, covered in dressings. The driver had been speeding, and a sharp corner had sent the vehicle rolling into a ditch, ejecting the driver and killing him on impact, and exploding in flames, slowly killing Westhaver’s other two friends.

“I was lucky because I managed to get out. I don’t recall how,” he says.

Westhaver took the students through his journey, from his family visiting him every day for the month he was in a coma, to the first time he saw his disfigured face, and the moment he finally learned his friends were dead.

“It affects everybody in your life, everybody that cares for you, loves you. They suffer too,” he says. “My dad says, ‘When it happens to your child, you live their pain every day’.”

Westhaver’s message is one of choices, and he hopes by telling his story, he’ll help others make the right ones, like speaking up when someone isn’t wearing a seat belt, or speeding.

“Could you live with the thought that you could have prevented a tragedy like mine by just speaking up?” he asks. “I want you to tell your friends how much you care for them. Don’t let them die senseless deaths like this.”

“Together, we can prevent these heartaches from ever happening again.”

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About Erica Fisher 4010 Articles

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.