SAC hosts ‘Intersection of Two Lives’

Story by Mykaela Cross, Assistant Editor

In order to promote drunk driving awareness, Baker University’s Student Activities Council hosted the annual “Intersection of Two Lives” event. The presentation, given by Detective Jay Armbrister of the Douglas County Sheriff’s office, was free for the Baker community and advocated good decision making when alcohol is involved.

Armbrister gives this presentation annually at Baker as a way to emphasize the importance of playing it smart when drinking by telling the story of two young men who were involved in a fatal car accident due to alcohol.

The presentation details the night of Nov. 23, 2010, when Armbrister was called out to the scene where Zachary Harrison and Cameron Freeman’s lives entangled and changed forever. Due to Harrison’s high blood alcohol level and lack of good judgment, Freeman lost his life; it’s an experience Armbrister says will forever follow Harrison.

“Zac said to me, ‘I’ve got two lives to live now, mine and Cameron’s,’” Armbrister said.

The story behind the presentation, though seemingly tragic, may yet have a silver lining. Armbrister said Harrison intends to improve awareness by becoming more than the name on the PowerPoint screen.

After being released from prison in October, Harrison will be joining Armbrister in traveling to schools and spreading the lesson in person, telling his story himself in order to send a more powerful message.

Randy Flowers, director of student life, has a personal tie to Armbrister’s presentation and attends the event every year.

“I grew up wrestling with Zac and his brother,” Flowers said. “When he gave the presentation to SAC, it was a reality shock to me.”

Regardless of his personal connection with the story, Flowers believes that the event is highly beneficial to college students.

“We all make decisions every day that come with consequences, whether positive or negative, so more awareness programming around the university gives students time to think about those consequences,” Flowers said.

Flowers looks forward to Harrison’s release and the changes he will make in the presentation.

“I think it’s one thing for a police officer to tell students not to drink and drive, but it’s a whole other thing for the one who killed someone to say not to,” Flowers said. “I think when you put the face to the incident it adds more value to the presentation.”

Logan Pope, a sophomore and designated photographer for SAC events, has been to the event both of her years at Baker and intends to continue going in the future.

“I think that it’s very informative,” Pope said. “I wish more people on campus would actually take the opportunity to go.”

In addition to being a great way to learn, Pope said that the experience is a refreshing change from similar high school presentations.

“They set up a reenactments in high school that blame the alcohol drinker and make them out to be a bad person, but they don’t tell you that the people involved are actually good people who acted irresponsibly,” Pope said. “He wasn’t condemning alcohol drinkers, just telling us to be responsible.”

Armbrister encourages students to make good choices where alcohol is concerned, just as he does as an adult. He admits that in the courtroom on the day of Harrison’s sentencing, he could not help but think to himself that “that could have been me.”

Armbrister closed his presentation by asking three things of students. He asks that 1) if anyone is planning on drinking that they have a plan and stick to it; 2) if they drink, they won’t drive; and 3) that they take responsibility for themselves and the people they’re with.

The program is expected to continue next year and students interested in learning more about the story behind the program can attend and/or email Armbrister at [email protected].