Author's Note: Today at school, we experienced Every 15 Minutes. For those that don't know what that is, please take time and visit every15minutes(dot)com. It is a very moving event, and it opened my eyes to how devastating drunk driving can really be. Please, please. Be careful out there, guys. Don't become a statistic. And ALWAYS be safe behind the wheel.

Dear Mom and Dad,

I always thought I was sort of invincible. Do you remember feeling that way, when you were my age? Like NOTHING in this world could touch you? Those things you hear about on the news—shootings, accidents, suicide—that stuff could never happen to you. It was all so far away. Tragic, yes—but outside your realm of possibility, of the safety bubble your thoughts encased your world in.

That mentality is supposed to be something you grow out of.

I guess I'll never know.

I saw my days as they were; I lived in each moment, floating from place to place with whoever would get me to the top of the social ladder. Parties at Jenn's, the latest clothes, the hottest boys: I never was one to stray from the norm. Cellphone in hand, I navigated the hallways with a bored look and a flirty smile. Hair tossed over my shoulder, purse slung on my left arm, I knew how the system worked. I wasn't stupid, either: I kept my grades up decently. I made my place. In a way, I became sort of a statistic. Just another link in the high school hierarchy.

Never in a million years could I have seen this coming.

It was late, and I knew I was dangerously close to curfew. 11:55, and the minutes were ticking by. I had to get home, and Corey offered to give me a ride. I wouldn't have made it home on time if I walked. So I got in the car…I was wearing my seatbelt. I was! And he swore he'd be okay to drive. So I believed him.

He didn't see the stop sign, we didn't hear the horn…

Now I know what you're thinking, Daddy. It wasn't his fault. We were both drunk. Drunk, and young, and stupid. I just wanted to make it home on time, I wanted to show you that I can be trusted with something as simple as a curfew…

I love you, more than I'll ever be able to tell you.

And I am so, so sorry.

Your little girl,

Hallie