Coalition Launches Safe Driving Campaign For The Holidays, “Make DUIs Extinct”
Shane Shatto is forever 19.
That's because he and seven other University of Wyoming athletes were killed by a drunk driver 13 years ago, his father said Thursday.
"I have a wish, or a dream, and I dream that some day I don't ever have to give these talks again; that maybe DUIs will become extinct," Kerry Shatto said at a press conference sponsored by the Natrona County Drunk Driving Committee at Casper College.
Off to the side was an inflatable Barney the Dinosaur as a further reminder of extinction.
Shatto and Barney joined civic leaders, law enforcement officers, policy makers and scores of students and college staff and faculty to officially launch the community-wide effort to make DUIs extinct during the holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day.
The "Wyoming Eight," as they are now known, died within a week of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., he said. "September 16, 2001, became my 9-11. It forever changed my life, my family's life, and seven other families' lives."
A drunk driver crossed the center line 17 miles north of the Colorado state line on U.S. Highway 287, drove through the athletes' Jeep Wagoneer, and killed all of them, Shatto said.
The pain never goes away, he said.
Shatto will never see his son graduate from college, get married or have children, he said. His daughter will never learn how to run better, his other son will never learn the finer points of wrestling, and his wife will never get to ride her bike with him.
"Drunk driving is something that can be cured, and in my lifetime I hope to see that," he said. "It's simple: Call a friend, call a taxi, or use the two feet that you were given."
Casper Police Sgt. Scott Jones, like Shatto, didn't want to be at an event necessitated by the results of impaired drinking.
Jones called driving under the influence "a death in progress," and "a homicide that hasn't happened yet."
Citizens should watch out for others, and call 911 if they see an impaired driver, he said. "Make that phone call and prevent something tragic from happening."