A Light In Dark Places: One student's story about the consequences of drunk driving
PUEBLO - Labor Day weekend wasn’t supposed to be like this. In 2014 Legend High School student Marshal Gregory took the long weekend to party with his friends in Monument. They had too much to drink and were involved in a car crash that killed two passengers and seriously injured another. He is now serving time at the Youthful Offender System in Pueblo. He wants to share his story in hopes of convincing kids like him to make safe decisions.
“I always tell him that I think that he’s meant to be a light in dark places,” says his mother Jackie Souverein. She makes the two hour drive from Parker to visit her son every other week or so. “And that’s why dark things sometimes happen to us.” These words aren’t always easy to process for Gregory. “How do I go about my life and make it meaningful for what had happened? I don’t know how I do that,” he wonders.
“There was a lot of things I did wrong that led up to it,” he admits. “My mom and my stepdad had gone up to the mountains for the weekend.” After work he joined up with his friends at a party. “A lot of people are drinking. A lot of people are smoking. I instantly start smoking. That was probably the first thing that I did.”
“At some point Beau comes up to me and he’s like ‘Man all the girls left.’ Like the girls that he was talking to left and I was like ‘ok.’”
Gregory left with his longtime friend Beau Begier. They met up with friends Ryan Pappas and Jack Clark at a Park and Ride in Monument. Their mission was to go find the girls that had left the party. This meant going to the house of some other boys. “We pretty much got denied. We got told that we can’t come in,” recalls Gregory.
“Now I’m drunk, angry, and driving.” The four boys from the party returned to the car and started driving. “It wasn’t even like, ‘yeah I’m gonna take the quickest way and go right back to the house,’” Gregory said. “It’s like - ‘I’m gonna drive fast and go for a little joyride almost.’”
In his drunk and high state, Gregory remembers Pappas saying “slow down.” That’s when he went through a stop sign at the intersection of Roller Coaster Road and Baptist Road. “It was over. I had no control.” He had hit a bump. The car went flying and landed in a ditch amongst the trees of the Black Forest.
When he got out of the car he dialed 911. He was hysterical as he tried to communicate with the operator.
“Oh my God!”
“Marshal can you hear me?”
He looked at his friend Beau lying on the ground. “And after knowing this kid for so long, I just…knew that he wasn’t there anymore.”
Life These Days
After a difficult trial he ended up at the Youthful Offender System in Pueblo, Colorado. That’s where spends his time reflecting. “There is no way to make it right. There is nothing that I can do to that’s going to make this better. There’s nothing that will make the families feel better.”
He receives encouragement from his mom. She faithfully visits him about every other weekend. “I've always been proud of Marshal, but I would say this transformation I’m really proud of who he’s become,” says Souverein.
Gregory knows he has made progress. “I feel like I have accomplished so much more being sober in these past three years than I did my whole high school career. I don’t have any ambitions to drink. I don’t have any ambitions to smoke. If I could take back anything from the night it would be the drinking and the driving.”
As his mother gets up to go back home for another two weeks Gregory continues to have time to reflect on that weekend that didn’t end the way he planned. “You gotta think about what you really want to get out in life. And you gotta realize that you don’t need anything else but you to get there.”