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Aaron Cooksey Speaks to College Students About Making Good Decisions
TROY -- If you were to describe Aaron Cooksey back in college it would be dedicated. If you were to describe him now, he says it would be rededicated.
For about eight years, Cooksey has been traveling around the country sharing his story.
Cooksey talks about being a stellar student-athlete up until he went to college and suffered two knew injuries.
He tells the audience the first knee injury led him to his first drink, and he says the second led him to a fast-paced careless life.
On July 29th, 2001, Cooksey was driving to a friend's house with his best friend, Andrea. He had a few drinks and was driving about 30 miles over the speed limit. When he looked back at the road a car in front of him was at a complete stop, ready to make a turn. To avoid hitting that car, Cooksey says he slammed on the breaks and veered right. His truck flipped three times before wrapping around a telephone pole.
"I could hear sirens, and I could see pieces of glass falling. I smelled dirt, that earthy smell of dirt from where my truck tore up the ground around the telephone pole," says Cooksey.
While Cooksey made it out alive, his best friend, Andrea did not, and as a result, he served a four year prison term, lost his license for life, and the opportunity to pursue a career as a teacher.
Cooksey says he will never forgive himself, nor will Andrea's family. In fact he says Andrea's family wants nothing to do with him, but they support what he does for a living.
At the request of Cooksey, the students did not applaud his lecture. They did however react:
"He asked us to think about someone in our lives we couldn't live without. He asked us to imagine being the reason that person is dead. It was hard to think about," says freshman, Margo Teeters.
"It was emotional and overwhelming. I love my best friend, I don't know it just makes you think twice," says freshman, Olivia Mogan.