Teen Drinking Initiative

Among those arrested for drunk driving in Leon County last year were 53 people who weren't even old enough to drink legally. A new initiative is trying to reach teens before they, too, wind up in trouble.

Robbie Redding knows better than anyone that underage drinking and driving kills. He lost his best friend the same day he lost the use of his legs.

Robbie says, "18 years old, nothing could stop me. That's what happens when you think you're invincible; something crashes down on you like that."

On a day when much of the world downs green beer, teens clad in blue gathered at the Capitol to help kick off a new initiative that promises not only a crack down on drunk driving and alcohol sales to minors, but urges personal responsibility among teens confronted with those choices.

Antwan Guyton, a middle school student, says, "Some of my friends, they might be trying drugs, but I don't do it; I just let them do what they want to, because like it says on our shirts, we make our own decisions and all that."

Jamie Allison, also a middle school student, says, "I don't want my family to cry over me when I'm in a funeral casket or I'm in a wheelchair. I want to get on with my life and have a good life."

Debbie Pullen urged teens to think, if just for a moment, about the possible consequences of drinking and driving. Her son, Dale, was killed in a crash five years ago.

Debbie says, "It's heartbreaking; it's heartbreaking. It's a constant thing. It doesn't seem to change. It doesn't seem to get easier as time goes on. It's just easier not to cry every day. You cry just a few days."

Tallahassee is one of seven cities in the state chosen for this initiative, and Joe Thomas, with the group "Visions of Manhood," is spearheading it.