More than 140 drivers and passengers have been involved in car crashes and fatalities in Nevada this year where alcohol was a contributing factor. The statistic is what has kept Derrionna Norwood, 17, from getting behind the wheel of a car; and also because her Mom - Tiffany Norwood - has taught her to be extremely cautious. The Norwood family lost a family member, Jahlonn Williams, in a car crash on Mother’s Day in 2013. Williams was just 17. Speed and alcohol were determined to be factors in the crash which was caused by a teenage driver of another car. Derrionna Norwood, a passenger in the car driven by her brother, survived.
The family joined other survivors, city officials, law enforcement officers, first responders and Trauma Services at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center today to kick off the month-long National Impaired Driving Prevention campaign. To emphasize the prevention point, Las Vegas High School students and University of Nevada Las Vegas athletes were brought to Sunrise Hospital today to get a first-hand look at the consequences of impaired driving but at a safe distance.
“Our theme, ‘Santa is coming to town, please don’t hit him,’ is light hearted but the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol could not be more serious,” says Todd P Sklamberg, CEO for Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. “This is a season in which celebration can lead to irreparable tragedy – our Trauma Services care team is committed to mounting the only defense we have which is to get the word out that drunk driving is preventable.”
In addition to surviving family members, today’s event featured first responders and city officials including Ward 1 Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, District 21 Nevada Senator Mark Manendo, Las Vegas & Clark County Fire & Rescue and Las Vegas Metro PD; as well as the Henderson Police Department. They brought a lasting message for all drivers with stories and visual cues that included vehicle extrications, impaired driving simulations, a mock “cemetery” of tombstones inscribed with the names of alcohol crash victims and a 20-foot long pledge banner signed by area youth who are committing to a season of alcohol-free safe driving.
“Be cautious behind the wheel; because you just don’t know whose life you are going to effect,” said Derrionna Norwood who was 13 at the time of the fatal drunk driving crash.
About Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center and Sunrise Children’s Hospital:
Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center and Sunrise Children’s Hospital offers high quality, patient-centered healthcare to the residents of Southern Nevada, its surrounding region, and the millions of visitors that come to Las Vegas. Sunrise Hospital serves as Nevada’s largest acute care facility and Level II Trauma Center which is located just minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip. Located on the same campus is Sunrise Children’s Hospital, Nevada’s largest, most comprehensive children’s hospital. Together, both facilities offer a full range of services for both children and adults.