WDC graduate wants teens to learn from her brother's tragic accident
12-13-14 was the night everything changed for Rylie Langer and her family.
The 2016 Wadena-Deer Creek High School graduate poured her heart out on the Wadena Memorial Auditorium stage on April 12 in front of WDC high school students to make a personal and powerful point: please don't drink and drive.
Rylie Langer's brother, Tyler, was driving drunk on Dec. 13, 2014, when the car he was driving slammed into a semi-truck, killing his best friend and leaving him unable to move, speak or eat. He requires full-time help, which is given by his mother who had quit her job.
Tyler, now 25, was in the audience watching his sister from his wheelchair. Sometimes, during his sister's presentation, laughter escaped from his lips.
Langer's presentation kicked off with a heart-wrenching 6-minute video she produced about how the impact of the crash has affected her family, and especially herself.
"That night, at approximately 12:15, my mom got a phone call that no mother wants to receive. ...My door flung open, and my mother said, 'Tyler has been in an accident, we have to go.' I sat up in disbelief. My brother had been drinking and driving," Langer recalled.
During her presentation, Rylie also stressed how students need to ask for help if they are depressed or having problems with drinking. She pleaded with students to talk to a counselor or a teacher. "I know they will help you because I had most of the same teachers that you do now. Go to them, talk to them."
Langer concluded her talk by saying, "One time, one DWI, one death is one too many."
Sgt. Kostohryz from the Moorhead Police Department joined Langer on stage to give the law enforcement's perspective. Unfortunately, they have the job of notifying families if a loved one has died in an accident due to drinking and driving -- "it's a horrible part of our jobs."
Langer asked students to sign a pledge to not drink and drive. The AAA PROMise asks teens to make the responsible decision never to get behind the wheel impaired and to make sure their friends do the same, especially as we approach Prom and Graduation.
A long line of students paraded up on stage to sign the pledge board with Wadena City Police Chief Naomi Plautz there, as well as Langer.
"My goal is to reach as many people as I can. I want to be an advocate for drinking and driving," said Langer.