Press-Republican

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October 22, 2013

Pedestrian-safety crusade gathers steam

PERU — A measuring tape is a good tool to teach pedestrian safety, Christol Mastic has found.

At Peru Central School recently, she had a student at each end of the tape, measuring out how long it takes for a car to stop once the driver hits the brake.

“This is with a brand-new car” and perfect road conditions, she says.

At 30 mph, it’s 38 feet. At 40 mph, it’s 68.

“They never get to 55 mph,” Mastic said, describing the students’ incredulity when they realize the stopping time could take a car all the way down a school corridor and out the door.

“If I need 68 feet to stop but see (a person) at 52 feet, I can’t stop in time,” she tells them.

Using the measuring tape offers a visual lesson, Mastic said, that she thinks sticks better.

‘MY HORRIBLE WORLD’

After many months of getting the word out of about pedestrian-safety practices, she knows sharing her personal story plays an important role in persuading her audiences.

Her son, Brandon, and four teens were killed on Nov. 15, 2011, in a horrific car/pedestrian accident. 

Brandon, 17, with his girlfriend Samantha Donah, was driving his car on rural Peasleeville Road in Peru as twilight fell when it struck two pedestrians walking in the roadway.

Dat. T. Ong, 17, of Vietnam and Chu “Allen” Xiong, 18, of China were wearing dark, non-reflective clothes as they walked with their backs to traffic, police determined. 

“If you don’t want to live in my horrible world — and I pray you never will — don’t (ignore the rules of the road),” Mastic tells students.

SAFETY PACKETS

She continues, through the Brandon Sorrell Scholarship Foundation, to talk to cross-country and track teams around the area; she has given out hundreds of florescent, safety-green T-shirts that she prays each student will wear. 

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