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Those Killed in Alcohol Involved Car Crashes
to Be Remembered

March 10, 2012 - Aaron James Badertscher, age 14, was run over and killed by a drinking driver while he was riding his bicycle during the summer of 1993.  The Sean’s Run organizing committee is making sure this Chatham school student’s story and his too-brief life are not forgotten.  The committee has decided to dedicate their efforts to his memory during the activities of Sean’s Run on the weekend of April 28-29 at Chatham High School.  Aaron’s story has been highlighted in the 2011 Sean’s Run event brochure.

Aaron and others who have lost their lives because of an alcohol-involved car crash in Columbia and Greene Counties over the years will also be remembered during a special annual ceremony to memorialize victims of impaired driving.   The observance will be conducted by the Sean’s Run committee and the other organization partners that are sponsors of the Columbia-Greene Safety Tree Living Billboard.  They include Columbia Memorial Hospital, Columbia County STOP DWI, Twin County Recovery Services, Inc., Taconic Driving School and Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID).

The remembrance ceremony will take place Friday, March 30th, 6 PM at the Safety Tree Living Billboard, a blue spruce pine tree that grows on a lawn next to the entrance of the Emergency Room of Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson.

Planted at the hospital on April 1, 2011, the Safety Tree is decorated with white lights as a living billboard reminding everyone about the danger of impaired driving.  The partner organizations decided to memorialize any individual who perished in an alcohol-involved car crash in the twin counties by switching a white light bulb to a red bulb during an annual observance.  The red bulbs will be permanent reminders of those lost and of the deadly consequences of drunk driving.

The NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) compiles the fatality data for each county in the state.  In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, alcohol-involved car crashes accounted for two fatalities in Columbia County and two fatalities in Greene County.  There were a total of 354 alcohol-involved fatalities across New York State that year.

In addition to lighting four red bulbs to remember the 2010 Columbia and Greene County victims on March 30th, the Safety Tree partner organizations will light a red bulb in memory of Aaron.  And they are inviting the families of any other person killed in the twin counties at any time in the past as a result of an alcohol-involved car crash to have their loved one remembered.  Families who have suffered the loss of a relative as a result of an impaired driving crash in Columbia or Greene County may request to have their loved ones remembered during the ceremony by e-mailing by March 28th.

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