Teen turns tragedy into life lesson for others
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A year ago, Katie Brown nearly died in a drunk driving accident. Her best friend, Nick Portis, didn't survive.
"I still have horrible back pain all the time from breaking my back, and I still have headaches all the time, and of course there's all the emotional pain where I'll cry," she said.
Katie's talking about missing her best friend, Nick. He won't be at her graduation.
"I write him letters, and I keep them all in a notebook, but I never get to give them to him or say it to him," she said.
Katie and Nick were celebrating spring break; a get-together in the woods with some 20 others. There was drinking. Then she and Nick got into the back of a truck for a drive down a forest service road.
"I don't remember what happened, but I guess we lost control, and when the truck flipped we weren't wearing our seatbelts," she said. Katie and Nick were thrown from the truck. Nick was killed.
"There were seven of us, we all had to see him, just like that, watching your friend die, it's really hard," she said.
Katie spends a lot of her time now telling this story time and again to students all over our area.
"I knew that it was bad, but, just something in me I was like 'No nothing's gonna happen it's just gonna be a fun night.'"
Katie's talked to as many as 2,000 students at a time. She knows not all of them will listen -- "But there's always that one who's actually crying and taking it in." And Katie knows that one teen making smarter choices could save a life, or even, save their own.