Survivors are part of toll
Aotea College’s driving-age students saw the far-reaching effects of a road death in a DVD launched at the college on Thursday.
The Ripple Effect tells the story of former Aotea College student Nathan Laurenson, who was killed with his best friend Udo Fourie two years ago today in a high-speed crash on Gray’s Rd in Pauatahanui.
Nathan’s parents, girlfriend and mates gave him a touching tribute in the DVD.
They urged young drivers to stick to the speed limit, and warned passengers to avoid riding with speeding drivers.
It was tough to open up about Nathan’s death on camera, but it was important to show what kind of person he was, said his father Brent Laurenson. ‘‘ He wasn’t just a road statistic.’’
On July 12, 2009, he spent the day with a group of friends celebrating Udo’s 18th birthday.
On the way home the pair decided to take a joy ride in a modified Subaru Impreza driven by an aquaintance neither teenager knew well.
At 6pm the car was involved in a high-speed head-on collision on Grays Rd, flipping upside down into Pauatahanui Inlet.
Nathan and Udo died and the other car’s driver was seriously injured.
‘‘It could have been easily five deaths that night. Luckily it was kept to two. Unfortunately for us, our son,’’ Mr Laurenson said.
The effects of the boys’ death reached far beyond their families.
‘‘It’s not just the family that deal with the grief and the mourning and the loss,’’ Mr Laurenson said.
‘‘It’s the worst feeling in the world. Your friends and family don’t deserve it.’’
College kids need to make the right decisions about speeding drivers, he told them.
‘‘You’re our next generation of drivers and that’s why we’re here. We’re targeting you to be more responsible.’’
Nathan’s mother Christine Laurenson now drives with a bumper sticker on her car saying ‘‘Speed killed my son’’.
Speeding is a decision drivers need to reject, she said.
‘‘Think. Just think. Make the right choice.’’
Nathan’s girlfriend, Melissa Lind, said she felt invincible until Nathan’s death.
‘‘I was always an ‘it never happens to me’ person. But it actually does happen, to anyone,’’ she said.
‘‘It shouldn’t happen to anyone else. Us and our families, we’ve been through enough for the rest of the world, I’m telling you. It’s not fun.’’
The Ripple Effect was funded by Porirua City Council and will be shown as part of Partners Porirua’s Drive Safe initiative.
Ripple effect: The effects of a road death reach far beyond the family, say speed victim Nathan Laurenson’s dad Brent, mum Christine and girlfriend Melissa Lind.