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Inmate shares dangers of driving drunk
Message directed at high school students
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Forsyth County News

dui CHRIS SANDY 10-30-jd

Chris Sandy, convicted of killing two people while driving drunk, speaks to Forsyth Central High students.

Chris Sandy was intoxicated on his way to a party eight years ago when a choice he said he made killed two people and landed him in prison.

Sandy, who is an inmate at Al Burrus State Prison in the city of Forsyth, spoke to seniors Wednesday at Forsyth Central High School as part of the Safe Campuses Now program designed to educate students about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Sandy pleaded guilty in 2001 to two counts of DUI-vehicular homicide and was sentenced to 13 years in prison to be followed by 18 years of probation.

"I'm here to make sure what happened to me never happens to you," Sandy said.
Forsyth County Sheriff's deputies escorted Sandy to the school and uncuffed his wrists on stage in Central's auditorium before his presentation. He wore a white jumpsuit and his ankles were chained.

Sheriff's Cpl. Richard Thompson said authorities contacted Safe Campuses about having Sandy come to Forsyth County after a deputy heard him speak at a conference in Savannah.

Thompson said a student told Sandy after the presentation that parents and teachers may tell teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving, but they rarely hear the message from someone going through the experience.

"It gives them a viewpoint that we as law enforcement and as parents simply cannot give," Thompson said. "To get it from the horse's mouth, so to speak, gives a unique viewpoint that we can not deliver."

Sandy was 22 when the car he was driving collided with another on a country road in Newton County.

He was traveling about 80 mph and was attempting to return to his lane after passing another vehicle when he struck a four-door sedan turning left into a driveway.

"I plowed into the rear passenger door completely driving through the car, cutting it in half, leaving the front half of the car in the driveway," he said. "And the back half was ripped off that vehicle and drug 100 feet down the road."

Sandy said one of the passengers in the car died immediately and the driver died after being flown to a hospital.

"Something else I found out was these family members, these were somebody's grandparents," he said. "These were grandparents just like I used to have and just like you have."

Sandy said he'd had four mixed drinks before he got on the road that night. Toxicology tests taken after the wreck showed he had a blood alcohol level of .14.

At the time, the legal limit in Georgia was .10, which has since been changed to a level of .08.

He also talked about his father's death last year of a massive heart attack after a Thanksgiving Day visit and said three of his grandparents have died since he was incarcerated.

Sandy answered questions from the students, who asked about life in prison, his family, friends and what keeps him going.

He said he relies on his faith and the goals he plans to accomplish once released from prison.

Sandy also gave two presentations Wednesday at North Forsyth High.

Thompson thanked the state department of corrections and the schools for their support in bringing Sandy's message to local teenagers.

"A lot of the students were moved to tears during the presentation and after," Thompson said. "So we think it definitely has an affect.

"And as law enforcement, if we think something can have an affect like that, then we're certainly willing to go the extra mile and do it, without a doubt."