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Colin MacLean
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Man talks about being a survivor of impaired driving

Alexander Poole is a man who’s at ease talking in front of 600 people.

It comes with experience.

But if you were to somehow jump in a time machine, travel back to the 1970s  and tell a young Poole what he’d be doing as an adult, and why, he’d probably have laughed at you.

His brothers, he told hundreds of young people at Three Oaks Senior High on Tuesday, are both pursuing careers that they love: one is a painter of some renown, the other builds engines for race cars.

Poole’s job is to travel to schools and talk with young people about drinking and driving.

It’s something he enjoys — but all the same, he’s often thought of what else he might have done if the chips had fallen another way.

Poole was involved in a car crash in 1976 that he’s lucky to have survived, though it made him a paraplegic.

He was the driver of the vehicle. He’d been at a party. He drove drunk.  

On Tuesday, he told students he’s just glad he didn’t kill anyone by being so stupid.

“Make your parents proud by doing something — even it it’s not getting smashed to pieces in a car accident,” he told the school.

Poole was there at the invitation of a group of Leadership 621 students: Alex Johnson, Andrew Brawn, Andrew Richardson, Brandon Adams and Brett Poirier.

They came up with the idea of inviting Poole to speak to the school after learning Prince Edward Island has one of the highest rates of impaired drivers in the country.

“We decided that having someone with personal experience would get our message across clearer,” said Poirier.

Poole is a powerful speaker, added Poirier, and the fact that everyone in the crowd seemed to be paying close attention to what he was saying is a testament to that.

“Overall great assembly, a lot of work but well worth it. I've heard Alex speak twice already and every time I'm amazed by his story and commitment to helping youth,” said Poirier.

Colin.maclean@journalpioneer.com

@journalpmaclean

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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