Sur­vivors are part of toll

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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