Lauren Sausville was a “beautiful and accomplished” 16-year-old girl until she drove drunk, flipped her father’s Ford Explorer and died instantly.
A 27-year-old man had bought her two cases of beer – a catalyst for her death in 2004.
Her stepmother, Debbie Sausville, recounted the painful tale at an event over the weekend kicking off Alexandria’s Sticker Shock campaign, a youth-led initiative aiming to prevent adults from purchasing alcohol for minors.
Teams of T.C. Williams High School students with adult leaders, including Teneka King from the Sheriff’s Office, traveled throughout the city over the weekend visiting more than 60 stores to place red STOP stickers on beer, wine coolers and other alcoholic beverages.
“I know adults who give kids alcohol in stores,” said Tenisha Gordon, a T.C. Williams student, class of 2015, who participated in the event.
Fellow student Nashae Bates said she wanted to get involved because “a lot of people die from drunk driving. Lives are lost.”
“Youth tell us it’s relatively easy to get alcohol,” Mayor Bill Euille told the crowd. He cited data showing that 43% of high school seniors have used alcohol one or more times in the last 30 days.
Deputy Police Chief Hassan Aden spoke to the group gathered outside of the city’s Department of Community and Human Services, saying Alexandria police are “deeply committed” to this project.
John Renner of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce said the initiative is very important to chamber members that want to be sure restaurants and other businesses are careful not to serve and sell alcohol to minors.
“The future of our children are at stake,” he said.