Family Shares Tragic Experience as Cautionary Tale
By R. M. Carkhuff
It’s prom and graduation season, and one Virginian family is sharing their story to high schoolers as a cautionary tale.
“Anna was taken away because of a choice someone made and I have to live with,” Kristine Villatoro, a volunteer for MADD in Virginia, said at an assembly of upperclassmen at Luray High School.
She was speaking of her daughter, Anna-Marie Elizabeth Dalton, who was hit and killed by an impaired driver on February 19, 2019.
The assembly, hosted by Virginia State Trooper Brandon Tester, was aimed to teach teens to make the right choice of never drinking or using drugs and then driving.
Kristine and her daughter, Nicie, both shared their stories with the assembly. They spoke about what it was like the day they learned that their shining light of a daughter/sister was killed and how deeply difficult it has been to cope with the loss of such an integral part of their family. They were not shy about the fact that an impaired driver had torn their loved one from them, and they urged the students to never, ever get in the car to drive after drinking or using drugs. The auditorium was so quiet, that a pin dropping would have sounded like a sonic boom.
Nicie left the crowd with these powerful words: “Don’t be the reason someone doesn’t have their sister anymore.”
After the assembly, students watched a mock car crash that showed what happens after a crash has occurred. It was a sobering affair that visualized the consequences of driving while impaired.
The following week, though Nicie wasn’t able to join, Kristine and Trooper Tester teamed up to share the same assembly and mock crash with students at Page County High School in Shenandoah. There, Kristine was able to thank first responders for the work that they do.
At MADD, we’re thankful for volunteers like Kristine Villatoro, who share their heartache hoping that other families do not go through the same pain.